Protest at China-funded Bangladesh plant, 5 dead

Police open fire as stir turns violent

April 17, 2021 09:57 pm | Updated 09:57 pm IST - Chittagong

At least five people were shot dead and dozens injured when Bangladesh police opened fire on Saturday on demonstrating workers at the construction site of a Chinese-financed power plant, officials said.

Police started shooting after workers became violent, said Saiduzzman Chowdhury, government administrator in the southern coastal town of Banshkhali.

They were protesting over unpaid wages, working hours and alleged discrimination.

Azizul Islam, Banshkhali police chief, said about 2,000 protesters threw rocks and bricks at police, who responded with gunfire.

The 2.5 billion-dollar, 1,200-megawatt coal power plant, 30% owned by Chinese engineering giant SEPCOIII, has been at the centre of other deadly protests in recent years.

Police opened fire on a protest by villagers in 2016, when four people were killed.

One man was killed in 2017 when police fired shots at a rally. Four bodies with bullet wounds were taken from the latest protests to Banshkhali's main hospital, a doctor there said.

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