Police fire tear gas to disperse apparel workers protesting price rise in Dhaka

Police have fired tear gas to chase away workers from several readymade garment factories who were protesting a rise in prices of daily commodities in Dhaka’s Mirpur.

The protesters left the roads in sections 13 and 14, and the roundabout at section 10 of the area themselves about 5 pm on Saturday, nearly six hours after they started the demonstration.

Some protesters damaged vehicles and Shaheed Suhrawardi Indoor Stadium between sections 10 and 11, said Parvez Islam, chief of Pallabi Police Station.

When police tried to chase them away, they threw brickbats, which led to a running battle. Finally, the law enforcers dispersed the workers by firing several tear gas shells, Parvez said.

During the protests, the workers did not allow vehicles to move onto the main roads, creating gridlocks in the area. Some protesters altercated with drivers.

The workers launched the protest at Mirpur-13 around 11 am, saying that wages must be raised or the prices of all necessities must be reduced. The protest continued in the area until they moved to Mirpur-10 roundabout at 2:30 pm.

Thousands of workers from Apex, MBM Garments Ltd, Saroj, VISION, IDS Group, Kolka, Jokky and Dmox joined the protests.

"An egg costs Tk 15 now, but the factory owners are not raising pay, I don't know what to do," said Nazma Akter, a worker of Saroj.

Kafrul Police Station Inspector Kamrul Islam earlier said the law enforcers were trying to remove the protesters from the street.

Workers also protested on Thursday, making the same demands, said Faysal, a worker at the Kolka apparel factory in Mirpur.

"A helper gets a monthly wage of Tk 8,000. How can a person survive a month with that little money?" he asked.