BD NEWS 24 (Bangladesh), THE TIMES OF INDIA (India), BBC NEWS (UK), REUTERS
DHAKA – Tens of thousands of Bangladeshis joined May Day protests Wednesday demanding the death penalty for the owner of the garment factory building that collapsed last week near Dhaka, as the number of people killed in the disaster moves past 400 with more bodies recovered beneath the rubble.
Workers holding red banners and flags chanted "Hang the Killers, Hang the Factory Owners" as they took to the streets of Dhaka at the start of a series of nationwide demonstrations during the public holiday, The Times Of India reports.
The Rana Plaza, which housed five factories in Savar, a sub-district near Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, collapsed on April 24, in what BBC News describes as the nation's worst industrial disaster. The owners of the complex have been accused of having ignored warnings not to allow their workers into the building.
Police officials confirmed that 399 bodies had been pulled from the wreckage, while another three people had died in hospital. Hundreds of people are still unaccounted for, and many bodies are feared trapped in the rubble. Some 2,500 people were injured.
Bangladesh’s government is observing May Day with the slogan "Safe Workplace for Bangladesh's Progress." Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged workers to go back to work: “You will lose jobs if the industry is not running. You will have to return to your villages,” Hasina is quoted as saying by Bangladesh News 24 Hours.
Building collapses are common in Bangladesh, especially in Dhaka where construction laws and safety rules are seldom enforced.
Late on Tuesday, the EU issued a brief statement expressing concern over labor conditions in the country and suggested it would look at Bangladesh's preferential trade access to the EU market to encourage better safety standards, Reuters reports.