Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Thousands of garment workers went on rampage in the country’s different apparel zones, including Savar and Gazipur, on Monday (April 29) demanding death penalty of the persons responsible for the Rana Plaza tragedy.

The fresh spell of violence erupted on the day when garment factories resumed production following a two-day closure in the wake of labour unrest.
A good number of the readymade garment (RMG) owners shut their factories in Gazipur and Savar for the day to avert large scale of violence.

In the face of the violent workers’ protest, the government deployed paramilitary force, Boarder Guard Bangladesh (BGB), in Gazipur and Narayanganj apparel belts to stem violence, officials said.

Workers of several factories in Jamgora, Zirabo and Nabinagar areas refused to join works and staged demonstration in front of the factories in the morning, a local police official said.

He also said at one stage of the protest, labourers of other factories joined with the demonstration and engaged in vandalism, prompting them to strictly handle the chaos.

The law enforcers charged the protestors with baton and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the troublemakers from the apparel belt where more than 300 garment factories are located, witnesses said.

Sever dozens of people, including policemen, were also injured during the desperate chase and counter chase that turned the area into a veritable battlefield.

“Vehicular movements on Dhaka-Tangail and Nabinagar-Kaliakoir highways suspended for over three hours because of the incident,” Badrul Alam, Officer-in-Charge of Ashulia Police Station, said, adding that nearly 200 vehicles were damaged by the protestors during the trouble.

The protestors said the tragedy of Rana Plaza took place as no initiative was taken by any government for ensuring exemplary punishment to persons responsible for previous deadly industrial incidents like fire at Tazreen Fashions and Spectrum garment factory collapse.

“The RMG industries at Konabari, Kashimpur and Board Bazar areas were also closed due to the labour unrest,” Munibur Rahman, director of the Gazipur Industrial Police, told BBN from Gazipur over phone. He also said a few number of factories has already started their production.

More than 5,000 workers staged demonstration at Joydebpur intersection and vandalised three buses, according to the witnesses.

On Monday afternoon, more than 10,000 RMG workers of at least 50 garment factories blocked 10 km on Dhaka-Mymensingh highway, stretching from Bagherbazar to Mawna intersection for two hours.

Mahbubul Alam, director of Industrial Police of Narayanganj unit said that they have stepped up security around the garment factories to prevent further trouble.
He said BGB men were patrolling the area to maintain smooth law and order there.

On Friday last, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) decided suspension of production for two days (Saturday and Sunday) at all the units in the face of violent protest by garment workers.
BBN/SI/AD-29Apr13-11:21 pm (BST)