Protests as Bangladesh arrests managers over blaze

Bangladesh police fired rubber bullets to disperse thousands of workers who protested for a third day Wednesday over the nation's worst factory blaze which prompted the arrest of three plant managers.

At least 5,000 workers left their factories and joined the protests, pelting stones and streaming through the main streets of Ashulia industrial area, just outside Dhaka and home to 500 manufacturing outlets, police said.

"They were demanding justice for the fire victims and arrest of the (plant) owner," police official Faruq Ahmed told AFP, referring to a weekend blaze at a local garment factory that left 110 people dead and more than 100 injured.

Police have arrested three managers of Tazreen Fashion factory hit by the fire, following charges that they stopped workers from leaving the burning plant when the fire alarm sounded, insisting that it was just a routine drill.

Industrial police deputy director Moktar Hossain said police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and jets of hot water from a water cannon to break up the crowd. "We were forced to react as they started pelting officers with stones."

The online edition of the mass-circulated Daily Star said workers also vandalised factories and torched motorcycles, injuring at least 20 people.

More than 100 factories at Ashulia, where the Tazreen plant is located, declared an impromptu holiday for the day, fearing the protests could grow into large-scale industrial unrest.

Police arrested an administrative officer, the store in-charge and a security supervisor of the factory, following charges that they told panicked workers they had nothing to worry about when the fire started.

"All three are mid-level managers of Tazreen. Survivors told us they did not allow the workers to escape the fire, saying it was a routine fire drill," Dhaka police chief Habibur Rahman told AFP.

"There are also allegations that they even padlocked doors," he said.

The burning factory supplied clothes to a variety of international brands including US retail giant Walmart.

Two government inquiries have already been set up to establish the cause of the worst factory fire to hit Bangladesh's garment industry, which employs three million and is the mainstay of the economy.

The shocked nation observed a day of national mourning Tuesday. Green and red Bangladeshi flags flew at half-mast alongside black flags atop government offices and the nation's 4,500 garment factories.

Rahman said police also questioned Tazreen's owner, Delwar Hossain, about alleged building rules violations after inspectors found the nine-storey factory only had permission for three floors.

Around 700 garment workers have been killed in dozens of fires since 2006, according to the Clean Clothes Campaign, an Amsterdam-based textile rights group. But none of the owners has been prosecuted over previous blazes.

Campaigners allege Western firms which make clothes in Bangladesh hide behind inadequate safety audits to help drive down costs.

After European chain C&A and Hong Kong-based Li & Fung confirmed they had orders at Tazreen, Walmart also acknowledged some of its products were made there and said it had terminated ties with the supplier.

Meanwhile, about 50 employees were hurt in a stampede after smoke from an air cooler at a five-storey factory triggered panic among workers in Bangladesh's port city of Chittagong, the general manager of the industrial park said.

"Of the injured, 25 people were rushed to Chittagong Medical College Hospital. Another 20 workers were given first aid," said Abdur Rashid of the Chittagong Export Processing Zone, where the factory is based.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • China says U.S. actions in S.China Sea "irresponsible, dangerous"
    China says U.S. actions in S.China Sea "irresponsible, dangerous"

    By Sui-Lee Wee BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Friday it was "strongly dissatisfied" after a U.S. military plane flew over part of the South China Sea near where China is building artificial islands, and called on the United States to stop such action or risk causing an accident. The Chinese navy issued eight warnings to the U.S. P8-A Poseidon, the U.S. military's most advanced surveillance aircraft, when it conducted the overflights on Wednesday, according to CNN, which had a team on board …

  • 2015 Hyundai Lateral Drift goes to Philippine Arena
    2015 Hyundai Lateral Drift goes to Philippine Arena

    The smell of burnt rubber and screeching tires are some of the highlights that will be seen at the most adrenaline-pumped drifting event of the year—the 2015 Hyundai Lateral Drift Championship series.   Held at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, the event will be the biggest venue in the drifting competition. This is the […] The post 2015 Hyundai Lateral Drift goes to Philippine Arena appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • The Richest Senators In The Philippines
    The Richest Senators In The Philippines

    The 2014 Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth for politicians and public servants are now available for anyone to … The post The Richest Senators In The Philippines appeared first on iMoney.ph. …

  • PHILIPPINES PRESS-AirAsia Philippines seeks $500 mln valuation for IPO - Inquirer

    The Philippine unit of Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia Berhad is seeking a valuation of at least $500 million for its initial public offering set within the next two years, the Philippine Daily Inquirer ... …

  • Consultant, facing joblessness, claims P5.9-M lotto pot
    Consultant, facing joblessness, claims P5.9-M lotto pot

    A 39-year-old information technology consultant, whose job contract will expire this month, has claimed his share of the 6/45 Mega Lotto’s P17.8-million jackpot in its May 13 draw, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) announced yesterday. “I could not sleep for the past several days, thinking about where I could get the money to pay my children’s tuition,” the winner told PCSO general manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II when he received a check for P5.9 million at the PCSO’s central …

  • Cager’s daughter: I will never drive again
    Cager’s daughter: I will never drive again

    Kim Asaytono vowed never to get behind the wheel again after she hit 14 people on Tuesday night and killed one of them. Even if she gets out of jail one day, the 22-year-old daughter of former Philippine Basketball Association player Nelson Asaytono said she no longer wants to drive. Maybe, I will still ride a car but I will never drive again,” she told The STAR in an interview in her jail cell at the Manila Police District headquarters. …

  • Disaster center to rise in Clark
    Disaster center to rise in Clark

    The private sector is set to build a disaster operations center near Clark international airport in Pampanga to strengthen the country’s preparedness against natural calamities. In his closing remarks during a two-day Earthquake Resilience Conference, businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan said yesterday the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF) would build the center that would serve as base for immediate response to a disaster. Pangilinan, co-chair of the PDRF, said the disaster …

  • China shoos away US plane in disputed sea
    China shoos away US plane in disputed sea

    The Chinese navy warned a US surveillance plane flying over artificial islands that Beijing is creating in the disputed South China Sea to leave the area eight times, according to CNN, which was on board the flight on Wednesday. The P8-A Poseidon, the US military’s most advanced surveillance aircraft, flew at 4,500 meters at its lowest point, CNN said. The incident, along with recent Chinese warnings to Philippine military aircraft to leave areas around the Spratly archipelago in the South …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options