Emeute mortelle à Tongi (Gazipur গাজীপুর জেলা) au Bangladesh – octobre 2009


Tongi erupts in violence


Sunday, November 1, 2009

2 killed, over 100 injured as RMG workers clash with cops after protests against factory closure, non-payment of wages

At least two persons were killed and 100 others including 16 policemen injured in Tongi yesterday in clashes between the law enforcers and several hundred garment workers protesting sudden closure of their factory without payment of arrears.

One of those dead was named as Bablu Sheikh, 32, a rickshaw-van puller, while the other one could not yet be identified, Superintendent of Police in Gazipur SM Mahfuzul Haque Nuruzzaman told The Daily Star last night.

Tapan Saha, officer in-charge of Tongi Police Station, said they sent the bodies to Gazipur Sadar Hospital for autopsy at 10:30pm.

A number of workers and locals said police killed several workers inside the factory of Nippon Garments Industries Ltd at Ershad Nagar, but they could not name any of those they claimed were killed.

Locals showed reporters and police bits of brains they claimed to be of humans in pools of blood near the entrance to the factory.

The law enforcers fired rubber bullets, shotgun and teargas canisters during the four-hour-long clashes to disperse the agitating workers. The police claimed that the workers and locals hurled brickbats and homemade bombs at them.

The protesters also torched a staff bus of another garment factory and vandalised four vehicles.

Communication on Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway remained suspended for about five hours from 8:00am, causing severe traffic congestion. Vehicular movement normalised around 1:00pm.

Twelve persons with bullet injuries were rushed to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital while others were taken to local hospitals and clinics.

The home ministry will hold an emergency meeting with officials of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association at 11:00am at the ministry to find out the causes behind yesterday’s clash.

Witnesses said the clash erupted at about 8:00am when several hundred workers of Nippon garment factory tried to enter the factory, defying police barricade at the entrance.

The factory authority had hung on the main gate a notice of closure of the factory from October 31 to November 29 because of « global recession and some unwanted incidents ».

The notice also asked workers to collect their dues from the factory office on November 10.

When the agitating workers, mostly females, tussled with police personnel to enter the factory yesterday, the law enforcers resisted them and at one stage charged truncheons to disperse the protesters.

The angry workers along with locals blocked the highway and torched the bus and vandalised several vehicles.

As the number of protesters increased, so did that of police, Rab and Armed Police Battalion personnel.

Victim Bablu’s wife Rokhsana, who works at the factory, told reporters earlier in the day that her husband received bullets when he came to take her out to safety.

She said his body lay at the factory entrance as chase and counter-chase continued.

Ali Asgar, driver of the torched bus, told The Daily Star that the agitating workers intercepted the bus in front of the factory and set it on fire.

The police charged truncheons on them again, which prompted the protesters to retaliate with brickbats.

A team of police then shot rubber bullets and teargas canisters. At one stage, they entered the Ershad Nagar area and clashes ensued.

Locals alleged that the police ransacked their houses and shops and tortured many innocent people who had no involvement in the incident.

A worker told The Daily Star that they wanted to enter the factory to know from the authority why they closed the factory without paying their arrears. « But the police barred us and charged truncheons on us which caused the clashes, » he said.

Mohammad Akhter, a class III student, sustained bullets in the abdomen and arms during the clash when he went out of his house to look for his mother who is a worker of the factory.

« Hearing gunshots, I came out of the house to find my mother but all of a sudden I received the bullets, » he told The Daily Star at DMCH.

A few family members of the workers tried to enter the factory in the afternoon in search of their missing relatives who, they said, had not returned home or made any contact since going to the factory.

Police kept around 15 locals and male workers tied to pillars of a nearby footbridge.

Many people claimed that the police killed several workers and locals. The law enforcers either took the dead bodies to another place secretly or hid those inside the factory, they said.

Rajab, a resident of Ershad Nagar slums, said, « The law enforcers killed those who got trapped inside the factory. »

However, none could specify identities of the alleged dead ones.

Lawmaker of the area Awami League leader Zahid Hasan Russell visited the three-storey factory building along with 10 workers to look for dead bodies but found none.

Home Minister Sahara Khatun visited DMCH around 6:00pm and expressed grief over the incident.

Talking to reporters later, she said, « We will form a probe committee to ensure trial of the culprits behind the incident. »

Inspector General of Police Nur Mohammad and Director General of Rapid Action Battalion Hassan Mahmood Khandaker visited the spot yesterday around 1:30pm.

Talking to the reporters in front of the factory, the IGP said they did not receive any confirmation of death.

He said three policemen were admitted to Rajarbagh Police Line Hospital in a critical condition.

Asked if there could be any instigation behind the incident, he said they had often observed instigations behind such incidents for the last couple of years.

Garment worker Kamruzzaman said the volume of work in the factory decreased in the last one month while payment of salaries had become irregular for several months.

He said the factory authority paid the salary for the month of September on October 22 and the overtime arrears for three months even later although it was supposed to be paid on October 24.

« The workers became aggrieved as the arrears were not disbursed in time, » he said. Against this backdrop, the factory authorities held a meeting with about 100 workers on Friday evening, he added.

At the meeting, Manjur Morshed, one of the directors of the factory, told the workers that the factory has been receiving fewer work orders and that the situation would continue for some time.

Kamruzzaman told The Daily Star that Manjur had asked the workers not to cause any unrest in the factory and assured them of paying the dues.

A number of workers, who were present at the meeting, alleged that the authorities deceived them by not informing them about the closure. The authorities suddenly closed the factory to deprive them of their dues, they added.

The Daily Star could not reach the authorities after repeated attempts.

SP SM Mahfuzul Haque said the unwanted incident erupted because of the sudden closure of the factory.

He said the workers forcefully entered the factory and started hurling brickbats at the police. The law enforcers opened fired on the workers to save themselves.

The SP claimed that the incident left 16 of both the sides injured.

He said the factory authorities had sent a letter to Tongi Police Station about the closure but they could not make proper preparations.

Tongi police were preparing to file a case in connection with the clashes.

bangla432 nov 1

Bangladesh: deux morts, 100 blessés dans la pire émeute ouvrière de la crise

31 octobre 2009

DACCA — Au moins deux personnes ont été tuées et 100 autres blessées samedi après que la police bangladeshie eut ouvert le feu contre des milliers d’ouvriers de la confection qui protestaient contre des salaires impayés, a-t-on appris de source policière.

Il s’agit des plus graves incidents dans un conflit social depuis que la crise économique a frappé le Bangladesh.

Les deux personnes ont été tuées dans la zone industrielle de Tongi, 40 km au nord de la capitale, après qu’environ 15.000 ouvriers ont commencé à lancer des pierres sur la police qui a répliqué, selon elle, par des tirs de balles en caoutchouc.

Mais selon un responsable de l’hôpital universitaire de Dhaka, Abdul Baten, « tous les blessés ont été atteints par des tirs à balles réelles, et certains sont dans un état grave », a-t-il déclaré à l’AFP.

Plusieurs policiers ont été blessés ainsi qu’une centaine de manifestants, dont neuf ont été transportés à l’hôpital, selon cette source.

« Les policiers ont dû tirer des balles en caoutchouc pour disperser les ouvriers qui lançaient des pierres et des briques sur eux », a assuré l’inspecteur Shafiqul Alam, ajoutant que deux personnes ont été tuées.

Les ouvriers, qui ont érigé des barricades et incendié des véhicules, exigeaient le paiement de trois mois de salaire de la part de leur employeur, la Nippon Garments, une entreprise bangladeshie qui a fermé ses portes en invoquant la chute de son carnet de commandes.

Selon un dirigeant syndical, Montu Ghosh, la Nippon Garments avait invité les ouvriers à venir se faire payer samedi matin.

« Mais ils ont fermé l’usine dans la nuit et envoyé la police la garder. Les ouvriers sont devenus furieux en constatant que les employeurs étaient partis sans les payer ».

L’industrie de la confection, qui emploie 40% de la main-d’oeuvre industrielle du pays, a rapporté 80% des 15,5 milliards de dollars d’exportation du Bangladesh l’an dernier.

En juin, environ 50.000 ouvriers s’étaient affrontés à la police lors de manifestations contre des salaires impayés ou réduits, faisant des dizaines de blessés.

Selon Fazlul Haque, président de l’Association des industriels et exportateurs de la confection, « les distributeurs occidentaux, qui sont nos premiers acheteurs, ont réduit leurs commandes et serré les prix. Les grandes entreprises ont pu, plus ou moins, s’adapter, mais la plupart des petites et moyennes sont confrontées à une situation très difficile ».

Selon les syndicats, les entreprises ont réduit les salaires pour conserver leurs commandes face à la concurrence du Vietnam, de la Chine ou de l’Inde.


Al menos cuatro muertos en enfrentamientos entre trabajadores de la construcción y Policía en Bangladesh


Al menos cuatro personas, entre ellas dos mujeres policías, murieron hoy sábado en un enfrentamiento entre trabajadores de la confección y agentes de la Policía en el distrito de Gazipur, unos 37 kilómetros al norte de Dacca.

Los manifestantes bloquearon una autopista de la zona en protesta por las condiciones laborales y del bajo salario, según informaciones de Xinhua recogidas por Europa Press.

Los agentes lanzaron gas lacrimógeno para dispersar a los manifestantes que respondieron lanzándoles ladrillos, que dejó a varias agentes heridos.


Tongi violence eases, deaths still unconfirmed


Sat, Oct 31st, 2009

Tongi, Oct 31 (bdnews24.com) – Two people were reportedly killed, scores injured and a policewomen said to be missing as police and garment workers clashed violently at Ershad Nagar in Tongi on Saturday.

Traffic on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway was blocked from 9am to 1pm as the violence spread out from Nippon Garments factory onto the streets, forcing police to fire teargas and rubber bullets.

According to witnesses, at least 50 people were injured, including police.

Locals also said two people, including a policewoman, were killed, but police could not confirm the news up to 2pm.

Gazipur police super Mahfuzul Haque Nuruzzaman had told bdnews24.com at around midday that two women constables were « missing » amid the clashes, but one of the policewomen was later located.

Inspector General of Police Noor Mohammad, at the scene, said the factory was « laid off » the previous night, but police were not informed.

He said police were unable to deploy patrols ahead of time to prevent the untoward situation.

He could not confirm the reported deaths.

Locals said workers of Nippon Garments in Ershad Nagar were demonstrating at the factory from 8am over unpaid dues.

Witnesses said police tried to stop them as they were taking their protest to the street, which prompted the violence.

Angry workers damaged and set fire to a number of vehicles, while police were forced to use tear gas shells and rubber bullets to bring the situation under control.

The situation eased a little after 11:30am as additional police and RAB were deployed on the spot, but sporadic clashes continued for some time, said witnesses.

Fourteen of the injured were taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital, many with injuries from rubber bullets. Among them were workers as well as bystanders, said hospital officials.

Local MP Zahid Ahsan Russel and Tongi municipality mayor Azmatullah went to the spot and spoke to workers at around 1pm.

The workers said they found the factory closed that morning without any previous notice, which sparked their demonstration.

Majeda Begum, a worker of the factory, told bdnews24.com, coming to work they had found that the gate was locked.

« We were owed many arrears. As the workers wanted break the lock to enter the factory, police obstructed us. »

Another worker, Parveen, said the owners had been saying that they would close the factory. « But they have to pay our arrears before they close. »

50 injured in Bangladesh labour unrest: police


Agence France-Presse | 10/31/2009

DHAKA – More than 50 people were injured Saturday as police fired rubber bullets at thousands of garment factory workers protesting over unpaid wages in an industrial hub north of Dhaka, police said.

Disrict Police Chief Mahfuzul Haq Nuruzzaman told AFP at least 10,000 workers attacked police with stones and bricks, prompting them to retaliate with rubber bullets and tear gas.

At least 50 workers and a number of police officers were injured in the clashes, police sub-inspector Maleka Begum said.

Private television station Bangla Vision said at least two workers and two policemen were killed and more than 100 labors injured many with bullet wounds, in the fierce clashes.

« The workers of Nippon garment were demanding arrear wages after the owners shut down the factory without prior notice. The angry workers became unruly this morning and attacked police, » Begum said.

The workers also damaged and torched vehicles and erected barricades on a key highway, cutting communications between the capital and northern districts of Bangladesh, she added.

Factories in the South Asian nation have been hit hard by the global economic crisis with several cutting wages to compete for orders with other producing countries, such as Vietnam, China and India.

Inexpensive clothing accounts for 80 percent of Bangladesh’s exports, which are vital to the economy.

Forty percent of Bangladesh’s industrial workforce is employed in the garment sector.

Two reported dead as Tongi erupts


Tongi, Oct 31

– Police and garment workers clashed violently at Ershad Nagar in Tongi on Saturday, with two deaths being reported but unconfirmed.

Traffic on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway was halted since 9am as the violence spilled onto the streets.

According to witnesses, some 50 people including police were injured.

Locals also said two people, including a policewoman, were killed, but police could not confirm the news up to midday.

Meanwhile, Gazipur police super Mahfuzul Haque Nuruzzaman told bdnews24.com that two women constables could not be located.

Locals said workers of Nippon Garments were demonstrating at the factory from 8am over unpaid dues.

Police obstructed them while as they were taking their protest to the street, which prompted the violence.

Angry workers damaged and set fire to a number of vehicles, while police were forced to fire tear gas shells to bring the situation under control.

The situation became calmer a little after 11:30am as additional police and RAB were deployed on the spot, but sporadic clashes continued, said witnesses.

Sat, Oct 31st, 2009



Gazipur District(Bengali গাজীপুর জেলা) is a district of Dhaka Division, it has an area of 1741.53 sq km and is bounded by Mymensingh and Kishoreganj districts on the north, Dhaka, Narayanganj and Narsingdi districts on the south, Narsingdi on the east, Dhaka and Tangail districts on the west.

~ par Alain Bertho sur 31 octobre 2009.

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