Deadly Government Crackdown on Bangladesh Protesters
The youth of Bangladesh took to the streets after a bus accident killed two students and injured several others in Dhaka on July 29, 2018. What followed was a series of massive public demonstrations speaking up against poor road safety laws. Students waited at checkpoints chanting “we want justice” and checking for valid driver’s licenses for nine consecutive days. Government authorities attempted to control this unrest with batons, tear gas and rubber bullets and disabled internet services to limit the spreading of the news. Supporters of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League Party also assaulted and threatened journalists and activists covering the protests. Renowned Bangladeshi photojournalist, Shahidul Alam, was arrested for speaking live with Al Jazeera. He has been sent to prison as of today. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and UN agencies have expressed concern for road safety in Bangladesh. Violence from the police has raised concerns about the government’s authoritarianism and inhibition of free speech. Similar youth-led protests in the past point to deeper corruption in the country than what lies on the surface, according to human rights activists. Joining us to discuss youth-led movements in Bangladesh is Vidhi Doshi, India’s correspondent for The Washington Post. Doshi is based in New Delhi and has previously covered several similar issues in Bangladesh.