DHAKA Feb 28 Hundreds of Bangladeshis took to
the streets of the capital, Dhaka, on Tuesday to protest against
an increase in the price of gas and police said they had to use
teargas and water cannon to disperse the demonstrators after
they tried to block roads.
The Energy Regulatory Commission last week announced an
increase in gas prices by an average 22.7 percent in two phases
starting next month.
The second increase in less than two years is being
introduced despite objections from political parties and
industry groups, including the $28 billion garments export
Many Bangladeshis use gas for cooking and for running
vehicles. It is also used to generate electricity.
Police said they broke up the protest after the activists
tried to block roads in the centre of Dhaka during a half-day
strike called by leftist political parties.
“We had to use water cannon and fire teargas as the
protesters paid no heed to our requests to move away,” police
official Sheikh Abul Bashar told Reuters.
Demonstrators said police detained about a dozen protest
leaders and about 20 people were injured.
“The government has illogically burdened people with the
increase,” a student union leader, Lucky Akter, told reporters.
"We demand the government scrap the decision."
There was no major disruption to daily life in the city or
The government is also set to raise electricity tariffs and
cut subsidies, which is likely to add to public anger over the
cost of living in the impoverished country of 160 million.
Consumer prices in Bangladesh rose 5.15 percent in January
from a year earlier, accelerating from a rise of 5.03 percent
the previous month.
(Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Robert Birsel)