From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Police attack massive rally against unsafe factories
Friday 26 April 2013
by Our Foreign Desk
Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas today at thousands of garment workers who were protesting against the death of over 300 workers in the collapse of a Dhaka factory building.
“The situation is very volatile. Hundreds of thousands of workers have joined the protests.
“We fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse them,” said an officer in the police control room.
Hundreds of thousands of workers had walked out of their factories in solidarity with their dead colleagues.
Some workers’ leaders attacked Western firms, who they accused of turning “a blind eye” while using Bangladeshis as “money-making machines.”
At one demonstration angry workers demanded the arrest and even the execution of factory bosses and building owners, smashing dozens of vehicles, but most other protests were peaceful.
As the protests grew rescue crews bored deeper into the wreckage of the Rana Plaza, hoping for miracle rescues that would prevent the death toll from rising much higher.
Some of those trapped under fallen concrete in the building were still alive, rescue workers said, but they were so badly hurt and weakened that they needed to be extricated within a few hours.
Rescue co-ordinators said that the death toll had reached 304, and that 2,200 people have been rescued.
Hundreds of rescuers, some crawling through the maze of rubble, spent a third day working amid the cries of the trapped and the wails of workers’ relatives.
Police cordoned off the building site, pushing back thousands of bystanders and relatives, after rescue workers said that the crowds were hampering their work.
Clashes erupted between relatives of those still trapped and police officers, who used batons to disperse the crowds.
Police said that 50 people had been injured in the clashes.
The rescue workers said they were proceeding very cautiously inside the crumbling building, using their hands, hammers and shovels, to avoid further collapses.
A military official said that search-and-rescue operations would continue until at least Saturday.
More than 300 people are dead, mainly garment workers, and many more are injured following the collapse of the eight-storey Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh this week. The tragedy is one of the world’s worst industrial disasters, but it will not be the last, as global corporations constantly drive for greater profits through the exploitation of sweatshop labour: here.
The owner of the eight-storey Bangladesh factory complex that collapsed on Wednesday killing at least 362 people has been arrested at the country’s border with India: here.
Rana Plaza death toll passes 600: here.
Charity War on Want called on Western firms to take responsibility for their employees and subcontractors’ conditions today following the “completely preventable” sweatshop collapse in Bangladesh: here.
Britain: Campaigners were left outraged today following the government’s “crass and cold-hearted” announcement that it’s to review the future of the Health and Safety Executive just days before International Worker’s Memorial Day: here. And here. And here.
Britain: Anti-sweatshop protesters targeted Primark’s flagship Oxford Street store on Saturday to demand compensation for the families of workers killed when a factory complex collapsed in Bangladesh last week: here.
- Death toll from Bangladesh building collapse rises above 500 (cnn.com)
- Death Toll Soars to 500 in Bangladesh (huffingtonpost.com)
- Stunned rescuers find baby boy born in rubble of Bangladeshi sweatshop disaster that has claimed 336 lives (dailyrecord.co.uk)