Police fire tear gas as Bangladesh protest turns violent

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DHAKA: Bangladesh police fired riot guns and tear gas Wednesday as a protest by bus drivers and truckers turned violent, with several injured in clashes that saw a low-grade bomb hurled at officers.

One driver was critically injured after being shot while four officers were taken to hospital after a crude explosive device was detonated, Dhaka police inspector Bacchu Mia told AFP.

Hundreds of drivers have brought transport services to a halt nationwide for a second consecutive day over the jailing of a colleague, staging a mass strike at the country’s largest bus station.

Vehicles were torched and ambulances targeted as the protest turned ugly, with police opening fire to bring the melee under control.

“They threw a bomb at a police post, injuring several officers,” Dhaka police deputy commissioner Masud Ahmed said of the protesters.

“We fired… to bring the situation under control.”

The protests began at the weekend after a court passed a life sentence on a bus driver over a deadly 2011 accident that left five people dead, including an award-winning filmmaker and a prominent journalist.

The strike has affected businesses reliant on truck deliveries and left millions of commuters stranded.

The strike could be lifted Thursday after a meeting between the road minister and strike leaders, private station Jamuna TV said.

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