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BGMEA first Vice-President Nasiruddin Ahmed Chowdhury speaks at token strike programme in the port city of Chittagong on Saturday.

Businesses hold token strike, demand end to violence

Representatives of forty organisations, including BGMEA, BKMEA and BTMEA, of readymade garment (RMG) sector were observing the hunger strike in front of BGMEA office in Dhaka from 11am, Saturday.  Speakers at a rally organised there said workers, along with the businessmen, would starve if the ongoing violence continued.
They threatened that the owners and workers of RMG factories would take to the streets if the violence did not stop.

Pointing finger at the BNP-led 20-Party Alliance which is enforcing a blockade from Jan 5, the speakers said they too had the right not to support the blockade and shutdowns.
They demanded security and compensation for any loss of lives and properties from the government.
Former BGMEA chief Abdus Salam Murshedy said the foreign buyers were frequently asking when the situation would calm down.

“What will we answer when even we don’t know it?
“They are contemplating to withdraw orders from Bangladesh,” he said.
Dhaka Metropolitan Shop Owners Association President Taufik Ehsan said 2.5 million shop owners and 7.5 million workers would announce stronger agitations if the violence did not stop within a week.

Meanwhile, a blast near the rally around 12:25pm created tension among the demonstrators.
BGMEA President Atiqul Islam, former FBCCI chief AK Azad, DCCI President Asif Ibrahim joined the sit-in protests.
Apex trade body FBCCI on Feb 8 claimed Bangladesh suffered a loss of at least Tk 750 billion since Jan 5 due to disruptions caused by the blockade.
The programme is scheduled to continue until 6pm.

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