Skip to main content

Anger in Bangladesh focuses on building owner, rejection of aid

By Jethro Mullen and Morshed Ali Khan, CNN
updated 8:25 PM EDT, Tue April 30, 2013
Marching Bangladeshis hold up portraits of relatives missing in the Rana Plaza building collapse on Tuesday, May 14. They're demanding wages for the missing garment workers and the death sentence for the building owner. Rana Plaza collapsed on April 24 in Savar outside Dhaka; <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/14/world/asia/bangladesh-building-collapse-aftermath/?hpt=hp_t2'>the final death toll stands at 1,127.</a> Marching Bangladeshis hold up portraits of relatives missing in the Rana Plaza building collapse on Tuesday, May 14. They're demanding wages for the missing garment workers and the death sentence for the building owner. Rana Plaza collapsed on April 24 in Savar outside Dhaka; the final death toll stands at 1,127.
HIDE CAPTION
Bangladeshis protest building collapse
Bangladeshis protest building collapse
Bangladeshis protest building collapse
Bangladeshis protest building collapse
Bangladeshis protest building collapse
Bangladeshis protest building collapse
Bangladeshis protest building collapse
Bangladeshis protest building collapse
Bangladeshis protest building collapse
Bangladeshis protest building collapse
Bangladeshis protest building collapse
Bangladeshis protest building collapse
Bangladeshis protest building collapse
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police fire rubber bullets at protesters calling for death of building owner
  • Britain and the U.N. say their offers of help were turned down
  • Authorities appear confused about the issue, but Bangladeshis express dismay
  • At the scene of the disaster, large cranes sift through the rubble to uncover bodies

Savar, Bangladesh (CNN) -- As rescue efforts in Bangladesh have moved to a recovery phase, anger has boiled over.

Anger at the building owner who ordered workers to return to the building after cracks had appeared in the structure.

Anger at reports that the government had turned down offers of international aid.

Anger that so many died in what is now the deadliest industrial accident in the nation's history.

After building collapse, Shahina's death breaks rescuers' hearts

On the highway leading from Dhaka to Savar -- the suburb where the building collapsed Wednesday, killing at least 398 people -- hundreds of garment workers clashed with police as they demanded the hanging of Sohel Rana, the building owner.

Did Western brands fail factory workers?
Trauma beneath Dhaka factory rubble
Calls for action after factory collapse

The demonstrators damaged more than a dozen cars as police fired rubber bullets to clear the highway. At least 10 were hurt.

In another part of the city, garment workers formed a human chain to call attention to the dismal conditions in which they work. They are hoping the disaster will be a wake-up call to their plight.

'Hang him!'

Bangladesh's High Court has ruled that all of Rana's assets be seized, along with those of the owners of the five garment factories the building housed.

As Rana entered the court, demonstrators and some lawyers chanted, "Hang him! Hang him!"

Meanwhile, the United Nations and Britain said the Bangladeshi government in Dhaka had rejected their offers of assistance.

Opinion: Who really pays for our cheap clothes?

The British Department for International Development said Dhaka declined an offer of "specialist technical advice" to help the search and rescue operation at the building.

Gerson Brandao, an official at the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Dhaka, said the Bangladeshi government had rejected an offer to send a team of international experts.

Authorities not clear about aid offer

Bangladeshi authorities appeared confused.

C.Q.K. Mustaq Ahmed, a senior secretary in Bangladesh's Ministry of Home Affairs, said late Sunday that he had heard that his minister had rejected an offer but that he did not know about it directly.

"Maybe the offer has been decided by the minister (that we do) not need that," he said. "I don't know, but I hear that he said there is no need. If there were immediate machines, of course, it might have helped. I don't know if they could line it up in two or three days."

Read more: At building collapse site, horror mixes with humanity

Babul Miah, deputy secretary at the Foreign Ministry, said he did not believe that such an offer would have been dismissed but was not aware of an offer or rejection.

"I don't believe that if the international organizations offered technical support that the government would reject it," he said. "It shouldn't happen."

'Utter disgust'

"It's totally outrageous and unfortunate that we turned down help, which could have only helped," said Naushad Hussain, a Bangladeshi citizen living in Kuala Lumpur.

Shammi Huda, a businessman in Dhaka, said his reaction to the news was one of "complete and utter disgust."

"Dhaka is always rife with conspiracy theories at best of times, but common sentiment is that government wanted to avoid any possibility of disputes arising over death tolls or competence in handling the situation," he said. "And that would have arisen with independent international observers and experts at hand."

At the site of the collapse, the recovery effort continued Tuesday, as yellow cranes sifted through concrete slabs.

For six days, rescuers had done all they could, many of them clawing with their bare hands through metal and rubble to reach survivors. They pulled out more than 2,400 alive.

CNN's Aliza Kassim and Saeed Ahmed in Atlanta, and journalist David Bergman in Dhaka, Bangladesh, contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Tethered to an IV drip, 71-year-old Shin Young Ja lies under a thin fleece blanket, nursing a broken back and wracked with survivor's guilt.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Family members of the missing passengers are pinning slim hopes on floundering air pockets.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
updated 5:34 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
The Hadza are one of the last communities of hunter-gatherers in the world -- but losing their land.
updated 1:00 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
In choosing to change a traditional practice, Francis is being as radical as Jesus was in his own time.
updated 7:13 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Too weak. Can't handle pressure. Unattractive to sponsors. Susie Wolff has heard it all.
updated 6:28 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
It's like finding a needle in a universe-wide haystack. Researchers have located a planet roughly the size of Earth that could be habitable.
updated 5:40 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Dubai, long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive, will soon have some competition from a neighboring country.
ADVERTISEMENT