University students demonstrated in Dhaka on Tuesday, March 19, in response to a deadly road accident earlier in the day. Hundreds of people gathered near Jamuna Future Park on Tuesday afternoon (local time) and called on the government to enact greater road safety measures after a bus reportedly killed a law student from a local university. According to local reports, protesters set fire to a bus and blocked traffic in the Basundhara Residential Area for several hours. Students accused the government of failing to enact stricter legal penalties for traffic accidents and ignoring calls for increased road safety measures.
A heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are possible in the event of future demonstrations. Clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out.
Protests also broke out in July 2018 after two students were killed in an accident caused by a speeding bus. Tens of thousands of students staged daily demonstrations through early August 2018, resulting in violent clashes between protesters and security forces. The demonstrations were concentrated in Dhaka, particularly in the Shahbagh area, though related protests were also reported in nearby cities, including Gazipur, Narayanganj, Mymensingh, and Chittagong. According to the private research group National Committee to Protect Shipping, Roads, and Railways (NCPSRR), more than 4500 pedestrians were killed in road traffic accidents in 2018, up from approximately 4200 in 2017.
Individuals present in Dhaka, and Bangladesh more generally, are advised to avoid all public gatherings and political rallies as a precaution and adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities.
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