Students demanding the removal of the army from Dhaka University clash with police.
|The violence was the first major defiance of emergency laws imposed in January [Reuters]|
The Bangladeshi army has begun to withdraw troops from a camp at Dhaka University after fighting with police on the campus left at least 150 students injured.
Soldiers had been stationed in the university’s gymnasium since they were deployed there in January by the military-backed interim administration following months of political violence.
The government issued an apology over the incident and confirmed the troop withdrawal had begun late on Tuesday. Students, fed up with the army presence, had begun rioting a day earlier.
A military van was burned in the clashes and at least another 50 vehicles were damaged.
Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to try and disperse the students who responded by throwing stones and wielding sticks.
Witnesses said at least 150 people were injured in the clashes.
A statement from the information ministry issued on Tuesday evening said: “The interim government deeply apologised for the incident and ordered immediate withdrawal of the army camp from the campus and an inquiry into the unfortunate incident.”
Jubilant students chanted “victory, victory” and lit candles to celebrate as troops began their departure preparations, but were subsequently told to calm down by the university’s acting vice-chancellor, AFM Yusuf Haider.
Similar clashes the previous night injured more than 100 people. The violence started when students began protesting against the presence of army troops during a football match at what is the country’s largest university.
Protests and street assemblies have been banned in Bangladesh since the interim government took power on January 12 under a state of emergency.
Monday’s fighting was the first major defiance of the restrictions and spread across campus after troops reportedly assaulted several students.
The interim administration has said it will crack down on political corruption before holding an election late next year.