At least 16 people, including four police members, were wounded as workers of an RMG factory in Gazipur clashed with the law enforcement agency during a protest for their due wages on Wednesday.
The protesters vandalised the factory and blocked the road near the factory, causing traffic gridlock on a major highway.
In the face of the protest, the factory authorities shut down production for the day.
Locals said the workers of Haesong BD Ltd in Kaliakair, Gazipur observed abstention from work and staged a sit-in demonstration in the morning, demanding payment of three months' salaries and other allowances that were due. Later, they vandalised the factory.
Around 10:30am, the workers moved outside and blocked the Dhaka-Tangail highway, where they kept protesting by burning tyres, witnesses said.
They blocked the highway for around half an hour, creating a massive traffic gridlock.
Receiving information, police went to the spot and tried to disperse the protesters by firing tear gas shells and shotgun at them.
Police disperse the protesting workers of Haesong BD Ltd in Kaliakair, Gazipur to clear up the Dhaka-Tangail highway on October 18, 2017 | Dhaka Tribune
The scuffle soon turned into violent clashes between the protesters and police, and at least 12 workers and four police officials were injured.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, the protesting workers said they had been asking the factory authorities for a the last few days to clear the due salaries and allowances around 2,000 workers.
Their owners set several deadlines to pay their dues, but failed to do so every single time.
The last deadline was set on Wednesday. When the authorities failed to pay their dues again, the workers launched their demonstration.
“When we received information, we went to the factory and tried to bring the situation under control, but the factory workers hurled brickbats at us,” said Inspector Mohammad Shahidullah of Gazipur Industrial Police 2.
Shahidullah and his colleagues constables Asad, Moslem and Rastan were injured by the brickbats.
Police than charged baton at the protesters and fired 11 rounds of tear gas shells and eight rounds of shotgun bullets to disperse the protesters and clear up the highway.
This led to a violent clash that injured at least 12 workers, Shahidullah said.
Around afternoon, police brought the situation under control, he added.