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Quota protesters break through police barricade, take position at Shahbagh

Quota protesters break through police barricade, take position at Shahbagh

Photo: BFirst

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Undeterred by both police requests and inclement weather, students from Dhaka University gathered in front of the Central Library, participating in the "Bangla Blockade" programme

Staff Correspondent

Publisted at 5:13 PM, Thu Jul 11th, 2024

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Protesting students of quota reform movement have broken through police barricades and taken position at the Shahbagh intersection in Dhaka to enforce their "Bangla Blockade" programme.

After breaking through the police barricade around 5 PM on Thursday, the protesters blocked the road from Shahbagh to the Hotel InterContinental. The police moved their Armoured vehicles equipped with water cannons towards Minto Road in the face of the student protest.

To prevent the Bangla Blockade programme, police deployed personnel and water cannons at the capital's Shahbagh intersection and other points in the city. Undeterred by both police requests and inclement weather, the protesters started gathering in Shahbagh at 3:30pm on Thursday (11 July).

Unlike previous days when police presence was comparatively lax, Thursday saw a more assertive stance. Armoured vehicles equipped with water cannons were prominently stationed in Shahbagh for the first time since the movement began.

Additional police forces and water cannons were also seen near the Chief Justice's residence and the Intercontinental Hotel.

The move comes a day after the Appellate Division issued a four-week status quo order regarding the cancellation of quotas in 2018, a verdict that the students have rejected.

As a result, they announced the continuation of their movement, planning nationwide blockades from 3:30pm onwards.

Coordinators of the movement from Dhaka University have affirmed their commitment to the movement, stating they will maintain their presence at key locations until their demands are met.

Earlier in the day, Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime and Operations) Dr Khandker Mahid Uddin said they will take action if anyone blocks roads and causes public suffering, even after the Appellate Division's order on the quota system in government jobs. 

"The Appellate Division has issued a status quo order on the High Court's decision restoring the quota system in government jobs for four weeks. From today, Dhaka Metropolitan Police believes there is no room for students to cause public suffering," he said at a press conference held at the DMP Media Center on Thursday (11 July).

"The police have affection and sympathy for those protesting. However, it is also necessary to respect the existing laws of the country and the highest court. Given that the students are educated, I urge them on behalf of the DMP not to organise any programmes that cause public suffering," he added.

Meanwhile, at least 20 people including students and policemen have been injured as police cracked down the students of Comilla University protesting against the quota system in government jobs, protesters said.

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