Bangladesh Police Beat Student Protesters

The student group, Bangladesh Chhatra Union, gathered to march and demonstrate against an April 14, 2015 sexual assault on women at the Dhaka University premises on Bangla New Year. At the time of the assault police were deployed to stop  sexual assault incidents and students say the police just stood idly by and watched as women were violently assaulted.

While protesters marched toward Dhaka Metropolitan Police headquarters, they were met by police with water cannons, tear gas and batons.

Police clashed with students while attempting to create a blockade in which the students were prevented from passing, over 35 students were wounded by officers. 10 students needed emergency medical attention due to the injuries sustained by police.

In 2014, there were over 21,000 sexual offense crimes reported to Bangladeshi police with the most reported, rape. In Bangladesh, many archaic laws still exists that hinder proper investigations into crimes against women. As a whole discrimination against women can be seen from the workplace to the home as gender based harassment and physical violence are common practice.

Bangladesh has often used violent and illegal measures against protesters, cracking down on freedom of expression and assembly. All Bangladeshis have the right to peacefully and freely express their views and police should refrain from using excessive force against all students. Police should use their time to investigate and arrest those that sexually violated women in April 2015 to bring to justice all who are responsible. The Bangladeshi government should investigate and discipline all Police Officers who stood by and watched as women were assaulted doing nothing at all to intervene and protect them.

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