Garment workers protest as Dhaka toll nears 300

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A woman weeps at the site of the collapsed building in Savar, near Dhaka.PHOTO:AP
A woman weeps at the site of the collapsed building in Savar, near Dhaka.PHOTO:AP

Garment workers who sew clothes for Western brands clashed with Bangladeshi police on Friday at a mass rally over the death of nearly 300 colleagues in a collapsed building as rescuers raced against time to find survivors.

Police-people clash

Police fired tear-gas and rubber bullets at the angry crowds as the workers, some armed with bamboo sticks, blockaded roads and attacked factories in the textile hub of Gazipur outside the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.

"The situation is very volatile. Hundreds of thousands of workers have joined the protests," M. Asaduzzaman of Gazipur police control room told AFP.

The violent scenes came as the death toll rose to 290 at the scene of the accident in Savar town on the outskirts of Dhaka where the eight-storey Rana Plaza factory bloc imploded on Wednesday morning. The overnight rescue of 45 people provided some hope to the thousands of anguished relatives who remain huddled at the disaster site, but an intense stench of decomposition suggested many more bodies remain trapped in the rubble.

British low-cost fashion line Primark and Spanish giant Mango have acknowledged having their products made in the collapsed bloc, while a host of brands including Wal-Mart and France's Carrefour are investigating.AFP

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