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18th November 2008, Dhaka

50 hurt as Bangladesh knitwear workers clash over food


According to Reuters, police reported that at least 50 people were injured as clashes broke out at a knitted garments factory near the Bangladesh capital yesterday.

The violence is said to have started when workers alleged that food supplied to them by the factory authorities was stale and of poor quality. Reuters reports that witnesses said hundreds of angry workers joined the protest at the Abani Knitwear Textile Mill at Hrishipara, and clashed with factory guards and police called in to restrain them. At least 50 people including a factory official were injured, witnesses told reporters.

As the violence spread outside the factory, buses, trucks and other vehicles were stranded on a highway linking Dhaka to the northern districts and police cleared the roadblock after several hours, the witnesses said.

"We rushed to the factory immediately after receiving the information and managed to calm down the protesters by promising to supply better food from now," Mohammad Fazlul Huq, president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association told a Reuters reporter.

Garments account for a huge share of Bangladesh exports, which totalled a record $14.11 billion in the financial year ending June 2008.

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