Police in Bangladesh kill protesters after riot

Two people were killed when police fired into thousands of unruly villagers who threw stones and vandalised buildings in protests over frequent power outages in north-western Bangladesh, an official said today.

Some 50 people also were injured in the violence late yesterday in the rural town of Kanshat in Chapainawabganj district, 145 miles north-west of the capital Dhaka, said the area’s police chief, Shamsul Alam Khan.

Khan said police opened fire when about 3,000 people attacked a state-run electricity office, threw stones at police and vandalised residential apartments of the power officials.

Among the injured were six police who were admitted to hospital, Khan said.

He said at least a dozen injured villagers were being treated at a local hospital, while others were released after first-aid treatment.

The protesters rallied outside the electricity office complaining that frequent power outages were hampering irrigation and small industries that depend on electricity.

The crowd turned violent and stormed into the office forcing police to open fire, Khan said.

The office sells electricity to more than 50,000 villagers who use the power for home lighting, irrigation and small industries.

Only 35% of Bangladesh’s 140 million people have access to electricity, according to the World Bank.

The government says the country produces about 3,600 megawatts of electricity a day, about 400 megawatts short of the demand.


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