July 14, 2019 / 1:37 PM / 4 months ago

Dozens clash with police at gas price protest in Bangladesh capital

People clash with police near the Ministry of Power Energy and Mineral Resources as they protest against the increase in natural gas price in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 14, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

DHAKA (Reuters) - Dozens of people protesting against the Bangladeshi government’s sudden decision to hike gas prices by a third clashed on Sunday with police outside the energy ministry in Dhaka, protest leaders and police said.

Last month the state-run Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission announced it would raise natural gas prices by 32.8% on average for all users from July 1, the first day of the country’s fiscal year.

Sunday’s protest was organised by the Left Democratic Alliance (LDA), which said at least 15 of its members were injured during the confrontation with police.

“We tried to go to the office of the energy ministry to raise our concern over the gas price rise but police prevented and scuffled with us,” said Ruhin Hossain, secretary of Bangladesh Communist Party which belongs to the LDA.

Police said officers tried to prevent protesters from breaking through a barricade and that it was unaware of anyone being injured.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said last week the price increases were necessary to sustain economic growth.

Reporting by Serajul Quadir; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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