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Bangladeshi garment workers in violent protests

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Protesting Bangladeshi garment workers clashed with police on Monday and set fire to factories in an effort to increase their minimum wage to $US100 a month.

The Hindu Times reports that nearly 150 people were injured in the latest protests which factory owners describe as the worst since 2010. In those protests, the minimum wage was set at around $US40 a month.

According to Mosharraf Hossain, assistant superintendent of Gazipur Industrial Police, management from most of the factories in the district near Dhaka reacted to the latest protests by suspending production for the day. 

According to AAP, there were as many as 200,000 involved in the protest.

Area commandant Alamgir Hossain told reporters, “Six of our men were injured as they attacked the camp, set it on fire and looted four rifles along with ammunitions and damaged four other weapons... the fire, however, was doused immediately.”

The call for an increase of the minimum wage to $US100 a month follows the government’s decision to establish a panel to review salaries.

Factory owners have rejected the demand, saying they can raise wages by only 20 per cent to less than $US50 a month.

Bangladesh is the world's second-largest garment exporter. Though it supplies clothing items to many western nations it has come under scrutiny for its poor working conditions and bad safety record.

In April, the collapse of a garment factory killed more than 1100 people. The tragedy resulted in calls for improved working conditions in the country.

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