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Mass student protest paralyses Dhaka for 7th day

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Bangladeshi Students demanding better road safety took to the streets of Dhaka for a seventh straight day on Saturday, bringing traffic in the city to a standstill.

Students from high schools and colleges took up positions in the city, as well as districts in other parts of Bangladesh, stopping drivers to check licences and vehicle registration.

“We don’t want to be killed on road crash. We want guarantee of natural death,’’ Mohammad Selim, a 10th grader, told dpa while holding placard that said “We want justice.’’

Selim was one of thousands of students chanting road safety slogans and demanding justice for the killing of two of their peers in a road crash on July 29, in Dhaka which prompted the demonstrations.

According to police, about 3,000 people die every year in road crashes across the country.

But the private organisation Bangladesh Commuters’ welfare Association said at least 7,397 people were killed in 2017.

It is common in Bangladesh for people to drive vehicles without a valid licence.

Sometime ago a number of police and government officials were found lacking proper documents after being confronted by protesters.

The protests have sometimes turned violent, with angry mobs vandalising vehicles and confronting drivers.

In response, transport workers have suspended services out of concern for their safety and the possibility of damage to their vehicles.

“We invested a huge amount of money and we cannot simply put our investment in risk,” Khandaker Enayet Hossain, general secretary of Road Transport Owners Association, told dpa.

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