Four shot dead in Bangladesh protest
DHAKA (AFP) – Conservatives demanding the execution of bloggers they accuse of blasphemy clashed with police in Bangladesh for a third straight day Sunday, and at least four protesters were killed when police opened fire.
Up to 3,000 protesters, including students from religious schools known as madrassas and supporters of the main opposition party, barricaded a highway at Singair in the central district of Manikganj, police said.
“They attacked us with machetes, sticks, bricks and firearms from three sides when we tried to clear the barricade. We fired back in self-defence,” Mizanur Rahman, deputy police chief of Manikganj, told AFP, adding at least 40 people were injured including policemen.
“The imam of the local mosque used a loudspeaker to rally the protesters. They were shouting slogans for the execution of the bloggers, accusing them of being non-believers and atheists,” Rahman said.
Khalilur Rahman, residential medical officer of Singair Hospital, said three young people died of bullet wounds there. A fourth person who was shot died after he was transferred to a Dhaka clinic, police said.
Among the injured, 18 suffered bullet wounds, the medical officer said.
Fifteen people were injured, three by bullets, in another clash between police, ruling party supporters in the southeastern resort district of Cox’s Bazaar, said private television Maasranga.