Confirmed reports are coming in of continuing protests and clashes between protesters and police in Bangladesh. Violence apparently started in the city of Chittagong when protests organized by the Jamaat-e-Islami were blocked by police. Tear gas and force were used by the police in an attempt to disperse protesters who were throwing rocks back and destroying more than 30 vehicles.
Witnesses who talked to the Associated Press said that there were around 100 people who were injured during the clashes. Meanwhile, around 47 protesters have been arrested by authorities.
Mass marches and rallies have been organized so far by Jamaat-e-Islami and 16 other political parties including the Bangladesh Nationalist Party to protest the disappearance of multiple individuals including opposition leader Elias Ali who many say was kidnapped or killed by the government.
There have been multiple disappearances over the past 2 years, most of the individuals being politicians. So far, around 20 people this year have gone missing.
These protests come after an attempted January military coup d’etat against the government of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina whose secular and moderate policies have made her a target for Islamists.
This particular coup was being carried out by, what army officials say, “religious fanatics”, just 3 years after a 2009 armed uprising that became widespread among military officers and ended in almost 100 deaths.
Alongside the coup, protests demanding for a caretaker government to oversee future elections also took place in the capital city of Dhaka where police used live ammunition and actually murdered at least 9 protesters.
Many worry right now that Bangladesh may once again return to the time of military dictatorships and juntas if the tension and violence continue to tear the fragile peace apart.