Five dead after police open fire on protesting workers at Bangladesh power plant

At least five construction workers were killed and approximately 21 people were injured after police shot into crowds protesting over unpaid wages at a Chinese-backed coal power plant under construction in Bangladesh on Saturday, 17 April.

Local police told Reuters that around 2,000 workers had begun hurling bricks and stones at police who’d moved in to break up the demonstration at the construction site of the 1,320MW S.Alam power plant in Banshkhali, near Chittagong. 

Four protesters died at the scene while a fifth died in hospital.

The protesting workers were not direct employees of S Alam Group or Shandong Electric Power Construction Corporation III (Sepco III), who formed a joint venture to develop the plant, workers told Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star. Instead, they were labourers hired by 27 subcontracting organisations.  

Police said workers set fire to structures at the site, which is 265km southeast of the capital, Dhaka.

Workers told the Star they were demanding up to three months of wages in arrears, as well as breaks for the observance of Ramadan.

Image ©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

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