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Monday, 9 September, 2002, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Bangladesh students call strike
Policemen hold a journalist visiting students on hunger strike at a hospital
Violence spread from the Buet to the Dhaka university

Anti-government student groups in Bangladesh have called for a country-wide general strike on Tuesday as hundreds of students battled the police in the capital Dhaka for the second day.

Buet students battling policemen on the campus
Many students were injured in the clashes

Pro-opposition student leaders called the strike at a press conference demanding the immediate re-opening of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet).

The government shut down the university on Sunday, forcing students to leave the campus after a week of demonstrations turned violent and about 50 students were injured in clashes with the police.

The main opposition Awami League and several smaller left-leaning parties have now extended support to the strike call, criticising the government's action.

Students groups linked to opposition parties tried to organise protest marches in Dhaka on Monday, but were barred by the police.

Campus death

The demonstrations appeared to have spread from to the neighbouring campus of Dhaka University, the country's premier institution of higher education.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia
Mrs Zia: supporters linked to campus death

This is the second wave of student protest in Dhaka against university authorities since July this year when Dhaka University was shut down and its vice chancellor forced to resign.

The students are protesting against politically-sponsored violence on campus and alleged police brutality on protesting students.

In June, a woman-student was killed at the Buet campus allegedly by armed groups linked to the ruling party of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.

Armed control

The following month, dozens of female students were injured and arrested during a police raid on a student dormitory at the Dhaka university.

Both incidents triggered widespread student unrest, which ultimately turned against the government.

Violence is a common feature on most public university campuses in Bangladesh, where student groups are directly linked to political parties.

Many of these party-affiliated student groups maintain armed cadres to ensure control over the campus.

See also:

08 Sep 02 | South Asia
31 Jul 02 | South Asia
30 Jul 02 | South Asia
29 Jul 02 | South Asia
24 Jul 02 | South Asia
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