Asia

Three jailed in Bangladesh over crash that sparked mass protests

Protesting students in Dhaka Image copyright AFP
Image caption The 2018 bus crash sparked mass protests in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka

Three people have been handed life sentences in Bangladesh over a bus crash that killed two young students and sparked anti-government protests.

Demonstrations hit the capital Dhaka last year after two schoolchildren were run over and killed by a speeding bus.

Tens of thousands rallied, demanding that the government take action to improve road safety.

The city was brought to a standstill, and more than 150 people were injured as authorities waged a heavy crackdown.

On Sunday three transport workers, including two drivers, were found guilty of culpable homicide.

"We are happy with the verdict," prosecutor Tapash Kumar Paul told the AFP news agency.

The owner of the bus company and his assistant were both acquitted.

Why did the crash prompt such a big response?

At least 7,500 people - more than 20 a day - died on Bangladesh's roads in 2018.

When the two children - a boy and a girl - were killed in July, the bus driver who hit them had reportedly lost control of the vehicle while racing another bus to pick up passengers.

The wave of protests that followed reflected widespread anger over dire road safety in the country.

The protests turned violent when police used tear gas and rubber bullets, injuring scores of teenagers. There were also clashes between the protesters and pro-government groups.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Protesters blocked streets and intersections

In the wake of the protests, the government passed a tough traffic law which means drivers found speeding can lose their licenses far more easily.

It drew a backlash from the country's powerful transport workers' unions - a lobby who have often limited the authorities' curbs on drivers.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe protests resulted in clashes

More on this story