The Bangladesh government declared banking an essential service on Tuesday (25 March) to avoid a threatened strike by bank employees on April 2.
GV Large crowd at Government employees rally in Dacca listening to speaker
TV PAN Large crowd listening
CU Speaker addressing rally
GV Crowd cheering as speaker continues (2 shots)
TV Demonstrators marching through Dacca, chanting and waving fists (4 shots)
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Background: The Bangladesh government declared banking an essential service on Tuesday (25 March) to avoid a threatened strike by bank employees on April 2. The employees are demanding higher wages and increased benefits. More than half a million government employees went on strike for increased pay two weeks ago but the but the government has not yet begun to negotiate on their demands.
SYNOPSIS: A mass rally of the government employees, which took place on Monday (24 March), showed their determination to continue the strike indefinitely. The absence of clerks and stenographers has nearly brought governmental machinery in Dacca to a stop
The strike is seen by observers in Bangladesh as a challenge to the rule of President Ziaur Rahman.
The President came to power in 1975 after a military coup and ruled Bangladesh under marital law until early last year.
On Tuesday (25 March), President Rahman released from prison the former President of Bangladesh Mr Khandker Mushtaq Ahmed, who had been serving a five-year sentence for corruption and abuse of power. The release of Mr Ahmed, and four other politicians, was intended to mark the country's ninth anniversary of independence on Wednesday (26 March).
A large demonstration in Dacca last month was organised by the ten opposition parties in Bangladesh who have vowed to overthrow the President by political means.