Bangladesh: Authorities send a 'chilling message' when opening fire at protestors

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Responding to the killing of at least one person and more than 60 people sustaining injuries following a clash between supporters of the opposition party and the police in Dhaka on Wednesday, Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for South Asia, said:

“This incident shows that the Bangladesh authorities have very little regard for the sanctity of human life and sends a chilling message that those who dare to exercise their human rights will face dire consequences.

“Authorities must put an end to excessive use of force when responding to large-scale demonstrations and only respond in a manner that is consistent with international standards.

“In recent weeks, we have seen an alarming escalation of repression by the authorities, who are carrying out mass arrests of political activists, raising serious concerns about violence, intimidation and harassment ahead of the parliamentary elections next year.

“It’s imperative that the government upholds the human rights of everyone, including their rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly in the country.

“Authorities must end impunity for repression of peaceful protests, and promptly, thoroughly and effectively investigate cases of excessive use of force by the police. They must ensure that suspected perpetrators are brought to justice, and that victims are provided with access to justice and effective remedies.”

Protest

On Wednesday, activists and supporters of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the largest opposition party, and the police clashed outside the party headquarters in Dhaka's Paltan area after the BNP announced a major political rally on 10 December.

The media reports 32-year-old Mokbul died from a bullet wound while at least three of the injured are undergoing treatment at a hospital in Dhaka. Thousands of BNP activists were standing in front of the party headquarters when the police opened fire with live ammunition, pellets, rubber bullets and tear gas

The Bangladesh authorities have also launched a drive to mass arrests political activists leading to the arrest of 1400 activists so far.

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