Cops, protestors clash over power outages in Dhaka | india | Hindustan Times
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Cops, protestors clash over power outages in Dhaka

Police swooped on more than 2,000 protesters after they started smashing passing vehicles during the downtown protest.

india Updated: May 09, 2006 13:31 IST

Riot police fired tear gas on Tuesday at thousands of opposition activists during a protest against power outages in the Bangladeshi capital, leaving several people injured, witnesses said.

Police swooped on more than 2,000 protesters after they started smashing passing vehicles during the downtown protest, according to an agency photographer at the scene.

The protesters from Bangladesh Jubo League, the youth front of main opposition Awami League, were marching toward the headquarters of the state-owned power company when the violence erupted. Dozens of cars and buses stranded in a traffic snarl were smashed.

It was unclear why the protesters turned violent and attacked the vehicles.

Police officials were not immediately available to comment. Bangladesh, a tropical delta nation of 140 million people, has been hit by power shortages affecting industries, business and agriculture.

The impoverished South Asian nation produces about 3,000 megawatts of electricity against total demand of around 4500 megawatts, according to the government's Power Development Board.

The government says the electricity demand has shot up for growth in industries.

Frequent power outages have hit water supply in the water as many water plants rely on electricity, residents say.

Last Friday, thousands of residents demanding water and power clashed with police in Dhaka's southern outskirts of Sanir Akhra, leaving at least 50 people injured.

At least 18 people have been killed by police since January in southwestern district of Chapainawabganj during protests over power shortages. The area is 230 kilometers west of Dhaka.