Protests against coronavirus restrictions in Bangladesh turn violent, 3 shot

Protests against coronavirus restrictions in rural Bangladesh turned violent when a mob of demonstrators attacked a police station, resulting in at least three people being shot.

The incident took place late on Monday in the central town of Saltha in the Faridpur district where, according to the police.

Rumours spread about a man being injured in a police sweep of a market aimed at enforcing health measures to curb the spread of COVID.

Thousands of villagers took to the streets in anger. A group of them hurled bricks at a police station and vandalised government offices in the town, torching an officer’s home and two cars belonging to government officials, police said.

“Police fired in self-defence after they attacked the police station,” a police spokesman in Faridpur district told AFP.

Police did not give any casualty figures, but Abdul Matin, a doctor at the emergency ward of the state-run Faridpur Medical College Hospital, said three people were in critical condition after suffering gunshot wounds.

Bangladesh on Monday instituted a seven-day nationwide lockdown after coronavirus cases reached record highs and fatalities skyrocketed in recent weeks.

All domestic travel services – including buses, ferries, trains and flights – have been suspended, and shops and malls will be shut for a week. A nighttime curfew is in effect.

Hundreds of shopkeepers also protested in the capital Dhaka over the lockdown, saying it would disproportionately affect their businesses.

Bangladesh on Monday recorded at least 7,075 daily infections, the highest since the pandemic was first detected in March. Overall the nation has recorded 644,439 cases and 9,318 deaths.