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Students bring Dhaka to standstill after bus deaths

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DHAKA : Thousands of school students brought parts of the Bangladesh capital to a near-standstill Wednesday, blockading roads to demand action after two teenagers were killed by a speeding bus.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan appealed to the students to end their protests to avoid a repeat of police baton charges against the blockades late Tuesday. Dhaka suffers from daily gridlock but this has been heightened by more than 10 blockades set up across the city since Sunday. Students mostly aged 13 to 15 have taken to the streets demanding the resignation of a government minister for his comments as well as action to make roads safer.

Authorities say more than 300 vehicles have been vandalised since the protests started. Anger erupted after one of two buses racing for passengers killed a boy and a girl waiting at the roadside on Sunday. Asaduzzaman Khan on Wednesday promised that the government would launch a public transport safety campaign.

“We request you to withdraw the blockades and return to the classrooms. People are suffering and we don’t want this,” he said.

More than 3,000 schoolchildren in uniform assembled at the Shahbagh intersection near Dhaka University chanting: “We want justice!”

They held placards reading: “Why my brother is buried in a grave while the criminals are roaming free?”–Agencies

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