Dozens injured in Bangladesh university clash
21 Aug 2007 08:46:21 GMT
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(Releads, adds more violence)
DHAKA, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Angry students burned at least 50 vehicles including an army van during fresh violence with security forces at Bangladesh's Dhaka University on Tuesday, witnesses said.
At least 50 more students were hurt as police fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the stone-throwing and stick-wielding students at Bangladesh's biggest university, they said.
More than 100 students were injured in similar clashes overnight, after students protested against the presence of army troops at Dhaka University stadium during a football match, university officials and witnesses said.
Protests and street assemblies have been banned since the country's military-backed interim government took power on January 12 after months of political violence. Troops have been camping in the gymnasium since then.
Monday's unrest, the first major defiance of the emergency restrictions, spread across campus after troops assaulted some students. Hundreds of police rushed in, firing tear gas and rubber bullets, the witnesses said.
The students, who want an immediate dismantling of the army camp on the campus, hit back with sticks and stones.
Classes and exams were postponed at Dhaka university in the wake of the violence, while students called for an indefinite strike on the 40,000-strong campus.
SOLDIER STARTED BRAWL
Violence flared anew on Tuesday as hundreds of students returned to campus carrying sticks and challenging police. Police responded by firing tear gas shells, witnesses said.
They forced police to retreat from the campus and burned effigies of army chief General Moeen U. Ahmed and the interim head of the law and information ministries, Mainul Husein.
A statement from army headquarters said a soldier who was alleged to have started a brawl with some students on Monday, had been withdrawn to face a departmental inquiry.
Earlier, Major-General Sina Ibn Jamali told reporters authorities would take action against troublemakers, and if necessary, would remove them from campus.
As reports of the Dhaka University violence spread beyond the capital, students at Jahangirnagar University, 40 km (25 miles) north of the city, barricaded a highway for several hours on Tuesday. They also damaged at least a dozen vehicles on the highway, witnesses said.
The student unrest also spread to Sher-e-Bangla University at Mirpur in the capital Dhaka.
The chief of army general staff, Major-General Sina Ibn Jamali, visited the Dhaka Medical College Hospital to see the injured and said the offenders would be punished.
(Additional reporting by Nizam Ahmed)