Thousands of garment workers stormed out of their units and vandalised several factories in Savar and Gazipur as the readymade garment factories reopened Monday morning after a two-day closure.
They vandalised at least 200 vehicles in Savar during the demonstration protesting the deaths of a few hundred workers when nine-storey Rana Plaza collapsed Wednesday.
Workers in Ashulia and Gazipur refused to join work and continued to demonstrate, said Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
Our Gazipur correspondent reports, most of the RMG factory has stopped production fearing further vandalism.
The workers also blocked Dhaka-Mymensingh road for two hours since 2:15pm.
Workers also took to the streets and started demonstration in Savar.
Most of the RMG decided to shut their factories in Gazipur for Monday as workers continued to stage demonstration.
“Eighty percent of the garments factory in Gazipur halted productions following the labour unrest,” said Selim Reza, inspector of Gazipur Industrial Police.
The workers are also demanding regular inspection at their workplace to ensure security of their lives.
In the morning, the RMG workers joined work peacefully.
Around 10:30am, some outsiders went to different factories and asked the workers to join them to stage demonstration.
More than 5,000 workers staged demonstration at Joydebpur intersection and vandalised three buses.
Following the vandalism, a chase and counter-chase took place between the transport and RMG workers, disrupting vehicular movement on Dhaka-Mymensingh and Gazipur-Tangail highway, said Iqbal Hossain, sergeant of Noujor Police outpost.
Transport movement remained suspended on the highways for one and a half hours, said Alamgir Siddique, inspector of Konabari Chandna Intersection outpost.
Police use mild baton charge to bring the situation under control.
In the afternoon, more than 10,000 RMG workers of at least 50 garment factories blocked 10km on Dhaka-Mymensingh highway, stretching from Bagherbazar to Mawna intersection for two hours.
They set fire on the road during the blockade.
Police reportedly fired teargas shell to disperse the workers, witnesses and workers said.
The workers left the scene when additional police started to rush to the spot.
The workers demanded capital punishment for Sohel Rana, resignation of the home minister and government-led probe team to inspect the high-rise buildings those house garment factories.
Garment workers in Savar took to the streets on Monday demanding death penalty for Sohel Rana and immediate arrest of local MP Murad Jong.
According to Bangla daily Prothom Alo, the workers put up barricades on the Dhaka-Tangail highway, vandalised several garment factories and over 200 vehicles.
Vehicular movement on Dhaka-Tangail highway and Nabinagar-Kaliakoir road remain suspended since 8:30am following the incident, said Badrul Alam, officer-in-charge of Ashulia Police Station.
Members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) were deployed in the readymade garments belt since morning to avert any untoward incident, UNB added.
Five platoons of BGB members will be on guard at the strategic points of the district’s industrial areas, said Deputy Commissioner of Narayanganj Monoj Kanti Boral.
He said BGB members have already started patrolling the city streets to maintain law and order in association with other law enforcing agencies, including police.
Production at around 600 garment factories in Chittagong district resumed peacefully in the morning, said Nasiruddin Ahmed, said former first vice-president of the BGMEA.
Garment makers decided to reopen their industrial units Monday after two days of production suspension following the labour unrest.
Nine-storey building Rana Plaza, housing five garment factories, a branch of Brac Bank and a shopping mall, collapsed on Wednesday morning after some cracks developed in the structure.
The death toll from the building collapse reached 381 so far. Till early Monday, 2,437 people were pulled out alive beneath the debris of the building.
On Friday, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) announced shutdown of garment factories after workers carried out vandalism at different industrial units and on the streets across the country, demanding arrest of building owner and proprietors of five garment factories housed in the building.
Sohel Rana, owner of the building, was arrested Sunday from Benapole of Jessore district in connection with two cases filed following the building collapse.
So far, four owners of the garment factories and two engineers of Savar Municipality were also arrested in connection with the cases.