At Least Three Killed in Bangladesh Protest

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A protest in the Bangladeshi City of Chittagong turns violent. At least three people are dead and over 250 injured.

In Bangladesh on Sunday, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to break up wage protests from textile workers.

At the emergency department of the Chittagong Medical College Hospital, doctors say three male bodies were carried to the morgue from the scene.

Around 150 were injured in Chittagong, 190 miles from capital city Dhaka. About 50 were injured in Dhaka and another 50 in nearby Narayanganj town. This is about 250 injuries in total.

Police say around four thousand workers attacked police, and vandalized at least 20 vehicles in Chittagong. They also set one on fire.

The violence forced some 300 industrial units - mostly garment factories - to close down in the Chittagong Export Procession Zone, or CPEZ.

According to the officials of the Bangladesh commerce ministry, there are several garment factories owned by South Korean, Japanese and Chinese companies in the CEPZ. Factory officials say they would be reopened as soon as possible.

The government raised minimum monthly salaries for garment workers a couple of months ago. But protesters say they are not being paid accordingly.

The new minimum wage was raised to 3,000 taka ($43), from 1,662 taka ($24) earlier, payable from December 1.

[Unidentified Worker]:
"The government fixes our salary at 3,000 taka (Bangladesh currency) minimum salary but they are paying the same to even those who have ten years of experience."

Garments account for more than four-fifths of Bangladesh's annual exports, worth more than 16 billion U.S. dollars.

The country has nearly 45 hundred garment businesses employing 3 million workers, mostly women.