Bangladeshi Garment Workers Set Factories Ablaze in Bid for Higher Wages

Laborers in the impoverished South Asian nation clash with police as weekend protests spill into Monday

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Andrew Biraj / Reuters

Garment workers shout slogans during a rally demanding an increase to their minimum wage in Dhaka September 21, 2013.

Factory buildings were razed, roadblocks were erected and rubber bullets fired into crowds in the industrial outskirts of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka as more than 200,000 garment workers protested their low wages for the third straight day.

According to a report in the Dhaka Tribune, more than a hundred factories were forced to close Monday as garment workers rallied in Gazipur demanding a monthly minimum wage roughly equal to $100.

(More: After Rana Plaza, Tazreen Factory Fire Victims Struggle to Be Remembered)

Producers say that the weekend’s protests were among the worst since mass demonstrations broke out in 2010, when garment workers also demanded wage increases.

Textile workers in Bangladesh are among the lowest paid laborers in the world and are subject to long working hours in poorly regulated factories that are prone to structural instability and fires.