Citizens Protest on Banshkhali Killings

Ganosamhati Andolan chief coordinator Zonayed Saki, speaking at the press conference, held at Gonosasthya Nagar Hospital auditorium at Dhanmondi in Dhaka.

At least seven workers were killed and dozens were shot after police opened fire at SS Power 1 Limited, a Chinese and Bangladeshi owned joint venture company. Workers demonstrating for unpaid wages and other benefits on the coal-fired power plant premises at Baroghona under Gandamara of Banshkhali in Chattogram on April 17.

A press conference held at Gonosasthya Nagar Hospital auditorium at Dhanmondi in Dhaka, was organised to deliver the reaction and findings of an eight member civil society delegation led by Gonosasthya Kendra founder Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury on April 25, which visited the power plant area and talked with the family of affected workers and also with the factory management.

Ganosamhati Andolan chief coordinator Zonayed Saki, who conducted the programme, said that they had found that the police and the thugs of the company were behind the killings.

Transcript of Saki’s talk:

I’ll present a few points in short. On 25th April we arrived in the afternoon in Banshkhali. You all know that on the 17th of April in Banshkhali at the coal fired power plant there was a protest by the workers they had some demands and there was a protest. The police and alongside the police some helmeted thugs opened fire and so far we’ve learnt from mainstream media that seven people have been killed and over a hundred have been injured according to what workers have said through various means. There are about thirty five with bullet injuries in the hospitals. This is what we find out from our own investigations in Chittagong and nearby places in those localities. Talking to those who have been injured and speaking to the families of those who were killed and those injured what we been able to unearth through our visit are things I will place at the table today. Firstly there is a context to this. You probably all know that on the 4th of April 2016 there had been a protest in that area relating to the setting up of this plant. The locals of Gondamara had come out in protest. The protest had taken place because the government and those who are trying to set up the plant, the ones trying to acquire land, had announced that they were going to set up a textile mill and other industries. It was hidden from the locals that there was going to be a coal fired power plant. So this whole thing started with deception and lying. But people found out very quickly that a coal fired power plant was being set up and there was an awareness amongst the people about the harm that could take place through the setting up of a coal fired power plant as there had been a nationwide campaign to stop the power plant in Rampal. The resistance had been led by the National Committee to Protect Oil Gas and Mineral Resources. So the people of Gondamara knew about what had happened to their salt farms, their agricultural land as well as their dwellings and places of worship. Since large swathes of land were going to be taken away, they set up the resistance. In response to that movement the police were brutal and at one stage they fired on the protesters killing four. When even that failed to quell the uprising they then brought in the combined security forces and set up a large camp and through various means of deception and enticement they manage to set up the coal fired power plant which has been going on since then. Again in 2017 the Bangladeshi company S Alam group of which SS power plant, a company named SS corporation is one of their companies, where subsequently there was Chinese investment in the company, and where much work is given to subcontractors, and other forms of investment. These companies then met with the local administration and locals, but then people linked with the government attacked the locals who were protesting, during the meeting, and one local died in that meeting. This is pretty much the background and the local conflict which has been going on for some time. So the entire locality has protested against the setting up of the plant. But those linked with the government and with the company, have not only taken the side of the coal fired power plant, but have made it a regular feature to attack the locals, and kept the conflict alive. Let’s move onto the incident at hand. We found out on the 16th of April or soon afterwards though the conflict had been going on for some time before, the workers had placed several demands the demands were quite everyday demands, in particular, they wanted the backpay for March which they had still not been given, they also placed some new demands since from the 14th of April Ramadan has started so during Ramadan they wanted their working hours to be reduced from 10 to 8 without loss of pay. So they would continue to get paid for 10 hours but get relief for two so they can have Iftar at that time and they wanted to be released early for Jumma prayers on Friday. The toilet situation is horrible. It’s so bad that the workers themselves have insisted that the toilet facilities be improved, so in general they wanted better working conditions and better safety. These demands are very justifiable and everyday demands. Demands relating to their existence.This is something we will all understand and regarding these demands when Dr Zafrullah spoke to the person who is responsible for the project, a former Additional Superintendent of Police, he informed us that they had accepted these demands but news of this acceptance had not reached the workers. Which is why the workers had protested on the 17th. This was the version of the corporations. When we brought this up with the workers they informed us that on the 16th the owners had asked the workers to send five representatives for a meeting with them. They would then bring up these issues and deal with it in written or verbal form. Five representatives had been sent, but the five representatives never returned to the workers by the following morning. The workers still didn’t know where these representatives were. So we could clearly see there was a difference between the two versions. The following morning when the workers came out in protest and took position outside the office, then the owners asked for two more representatives to be sent from each sector for further meetings. The worker said, “first send back the five people already sent.” They would find out what had already been discussed. This led to a heated situation. Following this agitation the representative of the owner told us that the workers had broken a few things and had been trying to advance towards the homes where the foreign Chinese workers lived. That was when the police opened fire. On the other hand the workers state that at one stage while this agitation was going on, the police took out petrol from one of their own vehicles and set fire to it. And then they began to spread the message that a police vehicle had been set on fire (by the workers) and that there was a conflict and reinforcement was needed to control the situation. So that more police would come in to control the situation. The workers claim that while the police were doing this, and a heated situation had been created, workers also got angry and did retaliate as a result. After this the police opened fire and the workers claim that people wearing police clothes but different shoes, and the same type of helmets that the workers had been issued, were firing guns. So the workers claim that some company people were dressed up as police and many of them opened fire and till now seven have been killed due to the firing. Though the workers claim, and one of them asserted very forcefully that they were more dead because he himself had seen at least nine or even ten who had been shot and he thought all of them had died. This is the perception of the workers and they also say that several bodies are still missing. When Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury spoke to the Officer in Charge of Banshkhali Police Station who had gone to the location with us, and we said we wanted to talk to them the police said they couldn’t talk to us without permission. In other words their mouth was sealed. The most important statement by the workers (despite what was being said by the owners) was “we had already decided that the Chinese were our ‘mehmans’ (guests), whatever was going to happen would happen between us Bangladeshis and we had had already decided that the foreigners would not be affected in anyway” and they had taken special care so that the Chinese would not be disturbed in any way. So the allegations (of the Chinese being threatened) were completely false. This is what the workers told us. So this is the general situation you know after this the police have filed cases against the workers. Not only that but ranging from Banshkhali to the Chottogram Zilla and divisional police administrators, they have actually said that it was the workers who opened fire and this is how they’ve tried to lay the responsibility upon the workers. They’ve filed cases against unnamed thousands, which has led to rampant harassment and arrests in that place. One other thing that needs to be mentioned is a new situation which has materialised. Bangladesh is helpless against syndicates. We now even have vaccine syndicates. We can see that those who bring in vaccines like the organisation BEXIMCO, their director Salman F Rahman who is also the government’s industry advisor, according to the Foreign Minister, is preventing the government from getting vaccine from other countries, like China, Russia and the USA and blocking the government from signing contracts with these countries. So in as horrifying a situation as a pandemic, where people are dying by the hour, in such a situation, when lives of Bangladeshis need to be protected, at that time, vaccine importers are preventing us from getting vaccine from other sources and you know what a difficult vaccine situation we are in. In our country we now have 1.3/1.4 million people who have taken the first jab, they are not guaranteed a second dose so this is the reality. What we’re trying to say is that we hear about the syndicates when it comes to the bazar. About onions, chillis, rice and lentils syndicate. There you have a syndicate for hiring workers. So workers who come to get employment can’t get hired directly. They have to pay taxes to the local powerbroker, that is they have to pay them before they can get hired. This is one. And since in this project since there is an investment and since a Bangladeshi organisation is the main licensee and in charge, so from that perspective, all workers employed here should be employees of this project. But since there is a Chinese involvement then perhaps showing that as an excuse various contract agencies are given subcontracts who hire workers. So the company is not hiring workers directly. They are giving subcontracts to other companies who in turn are hiring these workers. So many of the rights that workers would normally have, are rights the workers are deprived of as the company law under which these rights are determined, are very difficult to establish as it becomes difficult to ascertain who the owner is. This is a problem that already exists in foreign investments in Bangladesh anyway and has been exploited here as well, but not only that, even the hiring by the subcontractors who are powerful, as part of their power dynamics also use these workers to exert their influence. It is these power brokers who collect taxes from the workers. Now the accusation is, that after this attack, most of the workers will lose their jobs. They will need to be rehired, and they will all have to pay taxes again. They will squeeze the tax out of them. So this is the situation that exists. Today we will end with the observation that we believe that a situation has been created where the normal and quite reasonable demands of the workers which should have been accepted, and the owners should have, after discussing with the workers, tried to resolve this. Instead of doing so they harassed the workers in many ways and the workers became agitated, and rather than allaying these concerns the owners turned the police and their pet armed hooligans on the workers and have killed seven people. The number may be higher, numerous people have been arrested about thirty five are there in various hospitals with bullet wounds that we’ve come to know for sure, through various organisations and citizens of Chottogram. Besides there are over a hundred people who have been injured who we’ve had a chance to talk to. In such a shameful situation, where workers have been shot and killed, to then place the blame on the workers is a typical textbook fascism characteristic that has been established. We have condemned this in the strongest possible terms and we have placed some very specific demands which will be placed in front of you in a little while. For the moment I have placed our core observations to you. Now some of us from the group who visited Banshkhali will be expressing their own observations and then Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury will be giving his speech. A distinguished freedom fighter Ishtiaq Aziz Ulfat will now speak to you.

Majority World exhibition in Rome: Justice in Focus

IDLO Photo Exhibition in Rome
Farnesina Porte Aperte 2015
22 – 29 May 2015

justice in focus in rome

IDLO’s photo exhibition “In Focus: Justice and the Post-2015 Agenda” will form part of this year’s initiative by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to open its doors to the general public. From 22 until 29 May 2015, visitors will be able to participate in “Farnesina Porte Aperte” and view the exhibition during guided tours of the building. The Farnesina’s art collection is internationally recognized, and IDLO is proud to have been chosen to exhibit alongside this.

The photographs were also featured by The Guardian.
guardian piece on justice in focus

Curated by IDLO and the photo agency Majority World, the exhibition focuses on the challenges of development and the rule of law. From gender equality and indigenous rights to energy poverty and land tenure, it presents the rule of law as lived experience. The pictures vividly explore the human side of the rule of law and its importance in everyday life.
?In Focus: Justice and the Post-2015 Agenda? illustrates these themes through 32 images – taken by photographers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, India and Kenya – ranging from the Amazonian settlement of Colniza, Brazil, where rule of law measures have reversed illegal logging and deforestation, to the energy-starved metropolis of Kibera, Africa?s largest slum.
To sign up for a guided tour, please visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation?s Farnesina Porte Aperte website and choose the ?art route?, currently available from Monday 25 until Wednesday 27 May.
Before traveling to Rome, the exhibition was shown at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, to coincide with the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Over the coming months, it will be shown in Milan, New York, Washington and The Hague, and will return to Rome for an exclusive viewing in November.
For more information, please read this article in Italy’s Corriere della Sera,?visit theIDLO mini-site and watch video interviews?with the photographers.

Global Wind Day photo competition

Global Wind Day discover the power of wind energy

Global Wind Day photo competition – Discover the power of wind energy
The theme of the photo competition is wind energy. It is open to all photographers in any country, who want to capture images of wind energy from a new perspective. The challenge is to show the technology as it has never been seen before, for example by showing wind energy with seasonal colours, people, animals and landscapes in a new and unique way. Let your imagination take the lead!
Terms and Conditions?(PDF)

Register and upload your pictures!

Protest against hike in energy prices

By Monirul Alam/The Daily Prothom Alo
Police on Sunday foiled an attempt by the demonstrators of various left organisations to besiege the Ministry of Energy in protest against the hike in energy prices.
Witnesses said at least three activists were injured when police charged batons at them.
Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) and Gonotantrik Baam Morcha activists attempted to march towards the ministry from the Press Club area at around 11am, but the police blocked the roads by placing barricades at the secretariat-press club link road.
Protestors attempted to break through but the police charged batons and lobbed tear gas shells to dispersed them.

DEC 30 2012 Dhaka.Bangladesh.The left-leaning parties Gonotantrik Bam Morcha, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) marching towards the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources on Sunday Dhaka to protest against the plans to hike energy prices. At least 10 activists were injured during a clash with police. ? Monirul Alam
The left-leaning parties Gonotantrik Bam Morcha, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) marched towards the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources on Sunday Dhaka to protest against the plans to hike energy prices. At least 10 activists were injured during clashes with police. 30th December 2012. Dhaka. Bangladesh ? Monirul Alam

An activist show their party flag and poster in front of press club.  The left-leaning parties Gonotantrik Bam Morcha, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) marching towards the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources on Sunday Dhaka to protest against the plans to hike energy prices. At least 10 activists were injured during a clash with police. 30th December 2012 Dhaka.Bangladesh.  ? Monirul Alam
An activist shows the party flag and poster in front of press club. The left-leaning parties Gonotantrik Bam Morcha, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) marched towards the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources on Sunday Dhaka to protest against the plans to hike energy prices. At least 10 activists were injured during clashes with police. 30th December 2012 Dhaka.Bangladesh. ? Monirul Alam
Continue reading “Protest against hike in energy prices”

?We don?t want coal mine?

Documentary Film by Nasrin Siraj Annie

Duration: 23 Min.
Research, narration and direction: Nasrin Siraj Annie
Subject: Social movement against the establishment of an open pit coal mine in Northwest of Bangladesh.
Venue: Drik Gallery
Address: H# 58, R# 15A (new), Dhanmondi R/A
Date: 28 August, 2012
Time: 5:30 p.m
You are cordially invited
Article by Annie in Prothom Alo
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????? ????????? ??? ? ??? ??? ???????? ?????????? ???? ???????? ? ???????????? ???????????????? ????????? ??? ????????? (??-?? ?????) ???? ??????????? ??????? ??? ???? ?????? ??? ??????? ????? ??????? ???????? ????? ??? ???????? ?????? ??? ??????? ????? ???? ? ??????? ?????????? ???? ??? ???? ???? ?? ??????? ?????????? ???? ????? ?????? ???? ????????? ???? ??????? ??? ??????? ???????????? ???? ???? ???????????? ?????????????? ???? ??? ??????? ???? ??? ???? ?? ???????????? ?????????????? ????????? ??? ?????????????? ????????? ????? ?? ??? ????? ??????? ??????? ???? ?????? ????? ?????? ????? ? ?????????????? ? ??? ????????? ??????? ???????????? ???????????? ??????? ????????? ???? ?? ?? ???? ?????? ??? ?? ?????? ???? ???????? ? ???????? ????? ??????? ????????????? ?????? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ?????? ????????? ???? ???????? ?? ???????????? ??????????????? ???????? ???? (????, ?????????, ???? ??????) ????? ?????? ???? ??????, ??? ???? ?????? ??? ???????? ?? ???? ??????????????? ??? ???? ???????? ?? ?????? ???????? ???????? ??????? ????????? ????? ?? ???? ?????????? ??????? ?????? ???????? ???? ?????? ???? ?????? ???? ??????? ??????? ??????????? ????? (????: ????????) ????????? ???? ??????????????? ????? ???????
??????????? ????? ???????? ?? ?????? ??? ??????? ??????? ???? ???? ???? ?? ????? ?? ????? ??????? ??????? ????????? ?????? ???? ???? ?????? ??????? ????? ?? ?????? ????? ???????? ????? ???????? ??????????? ???????????? ???????????????? ?????? ??????? ???? ?????, ????? ??? ?? ??????? ??? ????? ??????? ???? ?????????? ???? ?? ????? ???? ?????? ??????? ???????? ???????? ????? ??? ??????? ????? ?? ??? ???? ?????? ?????????? ???? ?????????? ?????? ???? ??????? ?? ????? ???????? ????? ????????? ?????????? ???? ?????????? ???????? ???????? ????????? ??? ???????? ???????????? ???????????????? ???????? ?????, ?????? ?????? ??? ??? ?????? ?????? ????? ????????? ??????? ???????? ?????????????? ???? ?????? ????? ?? ??? ??? ?????? ????? ????? ???? ?????? ??????, ?????????? ????? ?????? ??????, ??? ????????? ?????? ?????????? ??????? ??? ???? ????????? ???? ????? ????????????? ??????????? ?????? ????? ????? ?????????? ????, ??????? ??????? ???? ??? ???????? ??? ???? ????? ???? ??????-????????? ??, ???????, ????????? ????????? ???? ????
??? ?????? ??????????, ?????? ??????? ?????, ?????? ????? ???????? ??????? ?????? ???? ??, ????? ?????? ??????? ???????? ??????? ??? ???? ??????? ????? ???????? ???? ?? ????? ??????? ???? ???? ????????? ???????? ????????, ????? ??? ???? ??????? ????? ??????? ????????????? ????? ????? ????? ??????????? ???? ????? ??? ?????? ????, ???? ?????? ???? ??? ???? ??????????? ????? ?????? ??? ?? ???? ??????????????? ??????? ???? ???? ?????????? ??? ???? ???? ???? ?? ????? ????? ???????????, ???? ??????? ????? ????? ????, ????? ??????? ????? ??? ????????? (????: ???????????? ??????????????, ????????? ??????????????) ?????? ???? ??? ??????? ??????? ????? ???, ?????????? ????? ??? ?? ???? ??????????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ???? ???????? ???, ??????????? ??? ??????????? ????? ??????? ??? ?????????????? ???????? ???? ??????, ????? ?????? ?????? ????????? ??? ???? ??????? ?? ??? ???? ????? ????? ??????? ?????? ???? ?? ???? ????? ?????? ??? ??? ????? ?????? ?? ????????? ?? ????? ?? ??? ????, ????? ??? ??????
?????? ?????: ?????????? ? ?????????????? ?????????
Related links:
Phulbari resistance blog
You cannot eat coal
Long March
Profits versus the poor

Bangladesh opens its gas fields to US company

Saturday, 31 December 2011 09:45 David Bergman

New AgeThe United States?multinational?energy company?ConocoPhillips?will soon start looking for gas in a deep offshore area in the Bay of Bengal.

With a short fall in the supply of gas and with declining reserves, the?Bangladeshi?government is desperate to find new supplies of gas.?It is the first time that the government has opened up its offshore territory to foreign exploration.?However, some are criticizing the government for signing this new deal with an international oil company.
David Bergman?hears?from both sides.
Bangladesh not only uses gas to fire its power stations to produce electricity; gas has also become essential for many other parts of its economy.
Ijaz Hossain, is one of the country?s leading energy experts and a director of the country?s own gas exploration company, BAPEX. Continue reading “Bangladesh opens its gas fields to US company”

ConocoPhillips Oil Spill

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As government faces increasing criticism over its controversial deal with ConnocoPhillips and pressure mounts to force the government to reveal the contract, an oil spill in China lends weight to the protesters claims that the company has a poor safety record.

ConocoPhillips Halts Oil Operations In Bohai Bay, China

ConocoPhillips has been ordered by the Chinese government to halt oil rig operations in Bohai Bay. ??AP

China said Wednesday it had ordered ConocoPhillips to immediately stop operations at several rigs in an area off the nation’s eastern coast polluted by a huge slick.
The 336-square-mile slick emanating from the oil field in Bohai Bay — which ConocoPhillips operates with China’s state-run oil giant CNOOC – has sparked outrage amid allegations of a cover-up.
On Wednesday, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said operations would not be allowed to resume before the source of the spill was fully plugged and “risks eliminated,” as fears over the long-term impact on the environment grow.
“There has been oil seeping continuously into the sea for days from platforms B and C in the Penglai 19-3 oil field and there is still a slick in the surrounding marine areas,” the SOA said in a statement.
“Another spill could happen at any time, which has posed a huge threat to the oceanic ecological environment,” it said, adding it had ordered Houston-based ConocoPhillips to stop operations at those platforms.
Spill ‘Basically Under Control’
CNOOC last week said the spill — which was detected on June 4 but only made public at the beginning of July — was “basically under control” while ConocoPhillips told reporters the leaks had been plugged.
The official China Daily newspaper last week said that dead seaweed and rotting fish could be seen in waters around Nanhuangcheng Island near the site of the slick.
It quoted a local fisheries association official as saying the oil leak would have a “long-term” impact on the environment.
CNOOC has been slammed by state media and green groups over the spill, and it emerged on Tuesday that the firm was cleaning up another slick after a breakdown at a rig off the northeast coast.
The state-run giant said the leak was “minor”.
In a separate incident, a CNOOC refinery in the southern province of Guangdong caught fire Monday but there were no casualties, the company said, adding that the cause of the blaze was still under investigation.
The refinery is located about 25 miles from the Daya Bay nuclear power plant, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

Police arrest 50 members of Oil and Gas Protection Committee


Professor Anu Muhammad in police van. Photo: Bangladesh First

July 3rd 2011. 7:50 am.

In an exclusive interview with ShahidulNews, secretary of the National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Minerals-Power-Ports, Anu Muhammad, professor of economics of Jahangirnagar University, speaking outside the Communist Party of Bangladesh office in New Paltan in Dhaka, talked of over 50 activists having been arrested by the police in the early hours of the hartal.

Police barred the oil-gas activists coming out to the street in Paltan. July 3rd 2011. ??Wahid Adnan/DrikNews

The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) picked up Professor Anu Muhammad, the member secretary of National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports in front of CPB office today moring during the 6 hour hartal called by the committee. July 3rd 2011. ??Wahid Adnan/DrikNews

After detention for almost one hour in Ramna Police Station, police released and dropped him in the CPB office. July 3rd 2011. ??Wahid Adnan/DrikNews

Professor Muhammad was amongst those arrested but was later released. Other activists who remain arrested include active member of the committee Zonayed Saki and Saiful Huq a leading member of Biplobi Workers Party.
They were arrested this morning as they were heading towards their office. The professor spoke of the police having used force and numerous activists being beaten up.
Sunday’s hartal was called on the 18th January in protest against the controversial government treaty (PSC) with the American power giant ConocoPhillips. Activists maintain the contract, which has not yet been made public, only allows Bangladesh to have 20 per cent of the explored gas from Bay of Bengal, allowing the company to export the remaining 80 per cent.

Eyewitness report from Nasrin Siraj:

Anu Muhammad, professor of economics of Jahangirnagar University and member secretary of National Committee to??protect oil-gas-mineral resources, power and port is arrested from Paltan today (3 July) at 6:53 a.m.. While he was walking towards the office of Communist Party of Bangladesh to join the other activists of National Committee for strike campaign, at least 40 anti riot police came forward, grabbed him and took him away in a prisoner?s van. During the arrest he was silent. Anha F Khan, Mehedi Hassan and I were accompanying him today morning while he was walking from his residence. Mehedi Hasan was also arrested.
Today, from the very morning police started arresting activists of the National Committee. First, at 5:45 a.m leader of Student Union of Jahangirnagar University was arrested from Paltan. All the central offices of left political parties in Topkhana Road and Paltan were surrounded by police from the early morning. Almost all the central leaders of the National Committee are under police custody now.

Breaking News: Nasrin Siraj has since been arrested.

Video Clip from Shomoy TV

Earlier interviews with Anu Muhammad

Update at 9:30 pm July 3 2011.

Professor Anu Muhammad, speaking from Paltan Thana (Police Station) in Motijheel reported that except for a handful of activists, the rest of the people arrested were still in the police station. “The government is trying to lump our activists with the Islamic Movement to confuse the issue and divert attention from their controversial signing of the ‘sell-out’ contract.”

News update: 10: 10 pm July 3rd 2011.

All arrested activists at Paltan Thana have been released. Paltan had the highest concentration of high profile activists, including Mushrefa Mishu, Saiful Huq, Zonayed Saki and Ruhin Hussain Prince and a large number of women activists. Nasrin Siraj Annie had been earlier released at 7:30 pm.
Activists at Shahbagh Thana and Lalbagh Thana are yet to be released. A large number of respected citizens, as well as MPs of the ruling party campaigned for the release of the activists. Barister Sara Hossain and other lawyers were also present at Paltan Thana and demanded the release of the activists.
Except for one activist, all other activists from Shahbagh and Lalbagh Thana were also released by 10:30 pm. Jubilant crowds clapped as the leaders of the protest rally were released.

Rahnuma Ahmed Injured


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Rahnuma Ahmed was amongst around twenty people who were injured as police clashed with protesters at a rally held near the National Press Club in Dhaka on 14th June 2011.
Members of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports were protesting against the government bid to give lease of two deep-sea blocks to US oil company ConocoPhillips South Asia New Venture Ltd for oil-gas exploration in the Bay of Bengal, which they say is against the interest of Bangladesh and is designed to profit a few corrupt individuals.
The police blockaded the rally near the secretariat, and baton charged the protesters as they approached the barricade. Writer and anthropologist Rahnuma Ahmed was one of several protesters who were injured during the clashes. The government plans to sign a contract with Connoco Phillips on the 16th June 2011.

Rahnuma Ahmed (centre) challenging police blockade near National Press Club Dhaka. 14th June 2011. Photo Hasan Raja

Rahnuma Ahmed injured during the clash between police and protesters on 14th June 2011

Coal Climate Showdown in Bangladesh

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Coal Climate Showdown in Bangladesh

Muslim and Adivasi women unite in their fight against multinationals. Phulbari Bangladesh. 30 September 2006. ? Munem Wasif/DrikNews

The bulldozers are warming up: any moment now a massively destructive coal mine could be approved in northwest Bangladesh that would displace tens of thousands of families, destroy vital farmland, and devastate mangrove forests that protect the climate-fragile country from rising sea levels.

A movement of local protesters has stopped the mine once before, and this week they bravely blocked major roads in a desperate bid for the government’s attention. But the global consortium backing the mine has launched a massive lobbying effort to win, flying MPs to Europe for VIP coal tours. Wikileaks cables even show the US ambassador lobbying for them.

Now, the movement has appealed to our global network for solidarity — to raise a worldwide outcry to counter the international financiers and stop this mine. Prime Minister Hasina has spoken out against the mine, but she is under enormous pressure to approve it. Let’s build a massive petition urging the Prime Minister to side with her citizens and their environment by rejecting the devastating mine — local organisations will deliver it to the Prime Minister and consortium if we reach 300,000 signatures.