Thu, 15 Apr 2021

Protests Over Writer's Death Rock Dhaka for Fourth Day

Voice of America
02 Mar 2021, 06:35 GMT+10

Around 300 protesters in Dhaka, Bangladesh, took to the streets for a fourth day in a dispute over the death of an imprisoned writer and a 2018 digital security law they say is used against the political opposition.

The protesters, mostly students, call the Thursday death of Mushtaq Ahmed a murder and are demanding a repeal of the Digital Security Act (DSA).

They tried to march to the Ministry of Home Affairs building, but police stopped them about 100 meters away from the complex where most of the country's major ministries are located, the French news agency (AFP) reported.

Ahmed, 53, was arrested last May for allegedly writing Facebook posts about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's handling of the COVID-19 crisis, the Dhaka Tribune reported. He was one of hundreds arrested under the DSA.

The protesters are also calling for the release of activists arrested since the demonstrations started.

On Monday, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, called for a transparent investigation into Ahmed's death as well as changes in the DSA.

"There needs to be an overhaul of the Digital Security Act under which Ahmed was charged - and all those detained under this act for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and opinion must be released," she said in a statement.

On Sunday, several protesters were injured when police used rubber bullets and tear gas against them, AFP reported.

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