Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Thousands of angry small investors staged demonstrations, fought pitched battle with police, vandalized motor vehicles and blocked traffic movement for about four hours at Motijheel and its adjoining areas in the capital Dhaka on Monday as stock prices plummeted at a record speed.

Within the opening fifty minutes of trading, the general index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange, generally known as DGEN shed more than 660 points or 9.0 percent after which the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) suspended trading both at Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) and Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE).

Trade did not resume for the day and DGEN closed 8.91 percent lower (-635.58 points).

The benchmark index lost more than 1,800 points in the last six sessions and is down by 27 percent from its peak value of 8,918.51 points as on December 5, 2010.

Investors took to the streets in different areas of the Dhaka city, including Mirpur and Gulshan and in some other cities and towns, including Chittagong, Khulna, Barisal, Bogra, Rangpur, Kushtia and Comilla, protesting the continuous fall in stock prices for the last few days, according to reports.

The trading at the bourses is expected to resume on Tuesday.

BBN/SSR/SI-11Jan11-2:00 am (BST)