One year after Rana Plaza collapse

Bangladesh garment workers still face dangerous conditions

By Sarath Kumara, 4 April 2014

A limited investigation shows that many garment factories are structurally unsound and lack basic fire protections.

Bangladeshi government appeals for military backing

By Sarath Kumara, 15 February 2014

The government’s immediate target is the official opposition, but its main concern is rising discontent in the working class.

Bangladesh election impasse heightens amid geo-political tensions

By Sarath Kumara, 23 January 2014

The longstanding rivalry between the ruling Awami League and BNP is now intersecting with mounting tensions between the US and China.

An exchange with the Bangladeshi ambassador to the US

By K. Ratnayake, 17 January 2014

The WSWS replies to criticisms by Bangladesh’s ambassador of an article detailing the plight of the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse.

Sham election deepens Bangladesh political crisis

By K. Ratnayake, 7 January 2014

The election was marked by a low turnout of 25 percent, police violence and clashes between the two main rival parties.

Victims of Bangladesh building collapse neglected

By Wimal Perera, 3 January 2014

Many of the families have spent their limited compensation, leaving them in a desperate situation.

Bangladeshi government cracks down on opposition protests

By Wimal Perera, 30 December 2013

Opposition parties are boycotting the January 5 national election and demanding a caretaker government to conduct the ballot.

Islamist political leader executed in Bangladesh

By Wimal Perera, 21 December 2013

The government is cynically exploiting the issue of “war crimes” in the lead up to elections to divert public attention from its record in office.

Mass conviction of 2009 Bangladesh mutineers

By Sarath Kumara, 20 November 2013

The trial has been widely condemned by international legal and human rights organisations.

Protests intensify in Bangladesh after police kill two garment workers

By Sarath Kumara, 20 November 2013

The Awami League government’s offer of a smaller wage rise backfired as thousands of workers demonstrated over the police shootings.

Bangladesh government suppresses opposition protests

By Wimal Perera, 30 October 2013

At least 15 people have been killed and more than 100 injured since Friday in violent clashes with police.

Bangladesh garment workers strike for higher wages

By Sarath Kumara, 28 September 2013

Police used rubber bullets and tear gas against striking workers who had blocked roads and highways part of their protest.

Bangladeshi court bans Islamic party from elections

By Sarath Kumara, 14 August 2013

The electoral ban has nothing to do with opposing religious fundamentalism, defending democratic rights or promoting secularism.

Bangladeshi police attack protesting garment workers

By Sarath Kumara, 12 June 2013

Police shot guns, fired tear gas and used batons to break up a protest by survivors of the April 24 Rana Plaza building collapse.

Sham “safety” deal on Bangladesh garment factories

By Sarath Kumara, 30 May 2013

Major European retailers have signed an Accord with global unions that will do nothing to end the unsafe conditions that led to last month’s tragic building collapse.

Bangladeshi police attack garment workers’ protest

By K. Ratnayake, 21 May 2013

Police fired rubber bullets at tens of thousands of workers demanding higher wages and protesting the April 24 garment factory collapse that killed 1,127 workers.

Anger mounts as death toll exceeds 1,100 in Bangladesh building collapse

By Sarath Kumara, 14 May 2013

Every aspect of the tragedy has underscored the culpability of the major retail corporates, as well as the complicity of the Bangladesh government and the country’s garment manufacturers.

Death toll in Bangladesh factory collapse reaches 950

By Sarath Kumara and Wimal Perera, 10 May 2013

The authorities’ main concern is to downplay the rapidly rising casualty figures in the textile factory collapse, to cover up the scale of the disaster.

Global corporations and the Bangladesh building collapse

By Peter Symonds, 8 May 2013

The world’s retailing giants are engaged in a cynical PR exercise to distance themselves from the tragedy that has taken the lives of more than 700 people.

Bangladesh building disaster death toll nears 700

By Sarath Kumara, 7 May 2013

Despite this unprecedented tragedy, the main concern of the government and international retailers is how to continue business as usual.

Bangladeshi government ends rescue operations in collapsed building

By Sarath Kumara, 1 May 2013

The government has ignored pleas from the relatives of victims who are still hoping that survivors will be found.

Bangladesh: Death toll nears 400 in building collapse

By Sarath Kumara, 29 April 2013

The total number of deaths may never be known in one of the world’s worst industrial disasters.

The Bangladesh factory collapse and the drive for profit

By K. Ratnayake, 27 April 2013

The tragedy is one of the world’s worst industrial disasters, but it will not be the last, as global corporations sacrifice workers’ safety to the requirements of profit.

Mass protests erupt in Bangladesh over factory collapse

By Patrick O’Connor, 26 April 2013

Hundreds of thousands of garment workers marched out of their factories yesterday, compelling plant owners to declare a day’s “holiday”.

Huge death toll in Bangladesh factory collapse

By Sarath Kumara and Wimal Perera, 25 April 2013

At least 149 workers were confirmed dead as of Thursday morning, but the figure is likely to rise as more bodies are recovered.

Bangladesh National Party heightens confrontation with the government

By Sarath Kumara, 1 April 2013

Violent clashes between the Awami League (AL)-led government and the right-wing, Islamist-aligned opposition are continuing in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh government continues repression against opposition

By Wimal Perera, 27 March 2013

The masses have become increasingly alienated from the Awami League-led government, because of its failure to solve any aspect of the social crisis.

Dozens shot in Bangladesh protests against death sentence for Islamic leader

By Wimal Perera and K. Ratnayake, 4 March 2013

At least 62 people died in a state crackdown on protests against death sentences imposed on Bangladeshi Islamist politicians.

Bangladesh: Factory fire kills seven workers

By Wimal Perera, 1 February 2013

The latest disaster again exposes the brutal conditions prevailing in the clothing industry.

Bangladesh factory fire report blames “sabotage”

By Oliver Campbell, 20 December 2012

The report covers up the responsibility of the government and the major international corporations that exploit cheap labour in Bangladesh.

Global retail giants and the Bangladesh factory fire

By Peter Symonds, 7 December 2012

Corporations are desperate to deny responsibility in order to protect their public relations image and profits, and avoid potential legal action.

Police attack Bangladesh garment workers

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 1 December 2012

Workers were demanding justice for the victims, compensation for their families and improved safety standards.

The brutal face of global capitalism

By Peter Symonds, 28 November 2012

The conditions at the Tazreen Fashions factory where 112 workers died were not the exception, but the rule.

Garment workers protest after Bangladeshi fire

By Peter Symonds, 27 November 2012

The protesters demanded the punishment of those responsible for the Tazreen Fashions factory fire that claimed at least 112 lives on Saturday night.

Worst factory fire in Bangladeshi history

By Peter Symonds, 26 November 2012

A blaze that gutted the Tazreen Fashions building near the capital of Dhaka on Saturday night killed at least 112 workers and injured another 150.

Bangladeshi garment workers clash with police

By Sarath Kumara and Wimal Perera, 20 September 2012

The latest protests underscore the seething discontent over deteriorating wages and working conditions.

Bangladesh legislates for garment worker unions

By Wimal Perera and Sarath Kumara, 23 July 2012

Amid fears of mass workers’ struggles, the government has given the green light for trade unions as another mechanism for suppressing workers.

Bangladesh and Assam devastated by floods

By Sathish Simon, 16 July 2012

While torrential monsoonal rains produced the floods, their ruinous impact is the result of decades of official indifference and negligence.

Union leader killed in Bangladesh

By Sarath Kumara, 17 April 2012

Aminul Islam went missing on April 4 and his tortured body was found two days later, dumped by the roadside.

Bangladeshi government cracks down on opposition rally

By Sarath Kumara and Wimal Perera, 17 March 2012

The right-wing BNP and the Islamists are seeking to exploit the rising disaffection with the government and divert it in a reactionary nationalist direction.

Indian prime minister visits Bangladesh

By Sarath Kumara and Wimal Perera, 10 September 2011

The much-anticipated visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh failed to produce the desired transit and water-sharing deals.

British police trained Bangladeshi death squads

By Simon Whelan, 7 January 2011

Cables released by WikiLeaks reveal how the British government provides training to a Bangladeshi government paramilitary force specialising in executing political opponents.

More than 30 die in Bangladesh ferry disaster

By Wasantha Rupasingha, 23 December 2010

At least 37 people—all women and children—have drowned after a ferry collided with a sand-laden cargo vessel and sank in north-eastern Bangladesh on December 19.

The police shooting of Bangladesh garment workers

By K. Ratnayake, 21 December 2010

The killing of four textile workers is the sharpest expression of a global turn by employers and government to state violence amid the deepening international economic crisis.

Factory fire and police killings fuel discontent among Bangladeshi garment workers

By W.A. Sunil and John Chan, 16 December 2010

Tensions remain high in the Bangladeshi garment industry as a result of Sunday’s bloody crackdown by the Awami League government, in which police fatally shot four striking workers, followed two days later by a factory fire that killed more than 30 workers near Dhaka, the capital.

Bangladesh police shoot striking garment workers

By Wimal Perera, 15 December 2010

Police mobilised by the Awami League government killed four garment workers and injured at least 150 after opening fire with live bullets and tear gas shells on striking workers in Bangladesh last Sunday.

Garment workers in Bangladesh continue protests

By Sarath Kumara, 4 August 2010

Thousands of garment workers demonstrated in Bangladesh for a fifth day yesterday to demand higher pay, defying police repression and a sell-out deal between unions, employer groups and government on Sunday.

Bangladesh government cracks down on protesting garment workers

By Sarath Kumara, 5 July 2010

Sheik Hasina’s government has mobilised riot police in a bid to crush the eruption of a garment workers’ struggle against poverty wages.

Bangladesh attempts to woo foreign investment

By Wimal Perera, 26 June 2010

This month’s Bangladesh budget seeks to address the concerns of big business while the masses continue to live in dire poverty.

Bangladesh fire kills more than 120 people

By Sarath Kumara, 5 June 2010

The toll from a huge fire in one of Dhaka’s poor districts on Thursday has highlighted the indifference of successive governments to the conditions facing the country’s working people.

Bangladesh: Factory fire kills 21 garment workers

By Wimal Perera, 4 March 2010

The deplorable lack of safety standards in Bangladesh’s garment factories is a direct product of the drive for profit.

Bangladesh: The execution of Mujibur Rahman’s killers

By Wije Dias, 17 February 2010

Amid waning support for her government, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed is cynically exploiting the hangings of her father’s killers to exhort supporters to strengthen the ruling Awami League.

Scores die in Bangladeshi ferry disaster

By Wimal Perera, 3 December 2009

For Bangladesh’s tens of millions of poor, ferries are one of the few affordable means of transport. The latest tragedy again exposes the callous indifference of authorities to their plight.

Security forces kill two protesting workers in Bangladesh

By Wimal Perera, 10 July 2009

Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina Wajed’s government has launched a sweeping crackdown on protesting garment workers after police and para-military Ansar forces shot dead two striking workers.

Bangladeshi government authorises arrest of 1,000 mutineers

By Sarath Kumara, 5 March 2009

Despite promises of an amnesty, the Bangladeshi government has launched a massive manhunt for members of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) who mutinied last week and murdered their army commanders.

Bangladesh’s government ends revolt by border guards

By K. Ratnayake, 28 February 2009

A 33-hour mutiny by the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), the country’s border guards, has shaken the government and the military. Having persuaded the mutineers to surrender, the government is ruthlessly reasserting its authority.

Bangladesh: Awami League wins election landslide after military regime relinquishes power

By Wimal Perera, 3 January 2009

An alliance led by the Awami League won national elections in Bangladesh on Monday with a landslide victory that expressed widespread popular opposition to the military-backed regime that has held power since early 2007.

Ferry disaster in Bangladesh claims hundreds of lives

By Wimal Perera, 19 July 2003

Hundreds of people are dead after one of Bangladesh’s worst ferry disasters. The badly overcrowded ferry, the MV Nazreen-1, sank in flood-swollen waters at the confluence of the Padma, Meghna and Dakatia rivers, some 170 kilometres southeast of the capital Dhaka, on the night of July 8.

Bangladesh government exploits bomb blasts to detain political opponents

By Sarath Kumara, 8 January 2003

The Bangladesh government has used a series of bomb blasts on December 7 to intensify a crackdown on its political opponents, including the arrest of prominent leaders of the opposition Awami League (AL). The bombs exploded simultaneously in four cinemas in the town of Mymensingh, 110 km north of the capital Dhaka, killing 19 people and injuring more than 200 others.

Bangladesh’s "crime" crackdown results in the deaths of 24 detainees

By Wimal Perera and Sarath Kumara, 20 November 2002

In the name of combatting crime, the Bangladesh government has mobilised some 40,000 soldiers alongside police in a huge nationwide dragnet that began on October 17 and has already resulted in the detention of more than 5,700 people. They include union officials, as well as politicians.

Ferry disaster in Bangladesh claims 300 lives

By Deepal Jayasekera, 8 May 2002

More than 300 people have died in one of Bangladesh’s worst ferry disasters. The triple-decked MV Shalahuddin-2 was caught in a storm in the Meghna River last Friday on its way from the capital Dhaka to Patuakhali. About 170km south of Dhaka, it capsized and sank rapidly at around 9.30pm. Most of those on board had little chance of escaping.

India-Bangladesh border still tense after worst clash in 30 years

By Nishanthi Priyangika, 21 May 2001

The India-Bangladesh border remains tense following a major clash between the armed forces of the two countries in mid-April that claimed the lives of 19 soldiers. While the immediate cause is an outstanding dispute over territory, the incidents have fueled nationalist sentiments in both countries—particularly in Bangladesh, where the government and opposition have exploited the issue in the lead up to elections due in July.

Another round of anti-government strikes and protests in Bangladesh

By Nishathi Priyangika, 26 April 2001

At least two people are dead and 20 people have been wounded in the latest anti-government strikes and protests in Bangladesh this week. One person was killed by police gunfire and another activist from the ruling Awami League was shot dead while returning home from a pro-government rally at Feni, 150km southeast of Dhaka. Strikes on Monday shut schools, closed the stock exchanges in Dhaka and Chittagong and affected work at the Chittagong port.

Bangladesh's worst ferry disaster claims nearly 200 lives

By Nishanthi Priyangika, 5 January 2001

More than 165 people are dead in Bangladesh's worst ferry disaster and the figure could rise further as over 100 are still missing. Unofficial reports put the death toll at 188. At least 40 of the dead are children.

Striking dock workers shot dead in Bangladesh

By Nishanthi Priyangika, 9 December 2000

Bangladeshi police shot dead four striking dock workers and wounded more than 100 on December 5 during a demonstration in the port city of Mongla, 160 kilometres southwest of Bangladesh's capital Dhaka. In defiance of their trade unions, the workers were striking for improved working conditions and the release of a co-worker arrested for campaigning for a hartal (strike and shop closures).

Bitter political feud between the government and opposition in Bangladesh

By Nishanthi Priyangika, 9 March 2000

Ongoing anti-government strikes, protests and agitation in Bangladesh organised by the conservative four-party opposition alliance led by the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) point to chronic political instability and breakdown for which neither the government, the opposition nor big business have any solution.

Bangladesh government introduces harsh new security laws

By Y.A. Dharmasena, 29 February 2000

Bangladesh President Shahabuddin Ahmed signed into law a Public Safety (Special Provisions) Bill on February 14 giving sweeping powers to the police. Under the pretext of dealing with criminals and terrorists, Prime Minister Sheik Hasina's government will use the new law to witchhunt the political opponents of the ruling Awami League regime and to suppress social unrest by workers and the poor.

Child labour on the increase in Bangladesh

By Nishanthi Priyangika, 3 November 1999

A UN Childrens Fund report published in September has found that more than 6.3 million children under 14 are working in Bangladesh. Children are labouring as maids and servants, in garment factories and engineering workshops, in the construction sector, as bus or tempo (three-wheeler transport) helpers, in the beedi (a kind of hand-made cigarette) factories, as roadside restaurant workers and street vendors, and in tea plantations and other agricultural sectors.

Hundreds of thousands hit by Bangladesh floods

By Nishanthi Priyangika, 20 October 1999

Serious flooding, although not as severe as in 1998, has swept through Bangladesh over the last three and a half months affecting hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country.

Plan for transport of Indian goods through Bangladesh provokes factional strife within country's elite

By K. Ratnayake, 16 September 1999

A Bangladeshi government plan to allow India to transport goods to and from its remote, northeastern states via Bangladesh has become another issue in the bitter factional struggle between the ruling Awami League and its bourgeois political opponents.

Bangladesh government crackdown on women engaged in prostitution

By Nandana Nanneththi, 27 August 1999

In the midst of criticism of a witch-hunt launched by the government on women engaged in prostitution, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheik Hasina Wajed held a meeting with newspaper editors on August 20 to justify her government's stand.

Bangladesh budget heaps on more burdens as poverty grows

By K. Ratnayake, 9 July 1999

Finance Minister Shah Kibria has presented the Bangladesh budget for the fiscal year ending June 2000, which will heap more burdens on the masses.