Garment workers clash with police

At least 50 hurt after protest for better working conditions turns violent reporter, Dhaka, Bangladesh

December 4, 2012

At least 50 people were injured yesterday after thousands of garment workers clashed with police in ongoing protests following a factory fire on the outskirts of Dhaka last week that killed more than 110 people.

The workers blocked a major highway and attacked vehicles and several factories prompting police to respond with tear gas, rubber bullets and baton charges, according to witnesses.

Protesters replied by hurling stones and missiles at police.

The clashes forced the shut-down of many companies in the Ashulia industrial zone where some 500 factories manufacture clothes for international brands like Walmart, Disney, H&A and Tommy Hilfiger.

Protests demanding better working conditions have been taking place almost daily since the fire at Tazreen Fashion factory on November 24.

The latest round of protests was reportedly sparked by rumors of another fire in the industrial zone, alleged non-payment of salaries and the sacking of some 100 workers at a nearby factory.

Management at the Hiyon Apparels factory said the workers were fired for violent conduct.

“Last month some unruly workers were late and were barred entry. They decided to protest outside the factory and even attacked an executive,” said Hiyon director, Tapan Saha.

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