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Starving labourers take to the streets in Rangpur

  • Published at 04:12 pm April 18th, 2020
Families mostly of those who live day-to-day at a sit-in demonstration, maintaining safe distance, in Rangpur on Saturday morning, April 18, 2020 Dhaka Tribune

‘You tell us to stay home but without food how will we survive with our children and families?’

Traffic came to a standstill for hours as hundreds of unemployed labourers, gripped by fear of perishing without food, took to the streets for relief supplies in Sadar and Paikgachha upazila in Rangpur on Saturday.

Salma Begum, from Deuti village in Pirgachha, said: “You tell us to stay home but without food how will we survive with our children and families? We have been starving for a long time.”

Other marginalized protesters also expressed the same sentiments as they observed a sit-in demonstration on the streets amid the ongoing countrywide shutdown is to stem the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19). 

In Sadar upazila, protesters blocked the Rangpur-Kurigram-Lalmonirhat road in Saroatal area of Rangpur town.

Vehicle movement remained suspended for about two hours from 10am during the protest.

The strike was called off after law enforcement assured protesters of meeting their demands which includes food supplies from the government and availability of TCB (Trading Corporation of Bangladesh) products in the district.

Mahiganj police station OC Akhtaruzzaman said necessary measures will be taken to supply emergency food in the area and the situation is now under control.

The protesters of ward no 33 in the city said that they have been put of jobs for almost a month now. They also said they were yet to receive any food supplies from the government and have been starving with their families.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people demonstrated for food near the Deuti market area form 9am in Paikgachha upazila.

The crowd withdrew their protest three hours after when local law enforcement assured them of meeting their demands, confirmed Paikgachha police station OC Rezaul Karim.

The demonstrators threatened to continue the protests if they were not provided food support within Saturday night.