BANGLADESH: Protests against grabbing of church land lead to attacks
Church officials in southern Bangladesh say at least 15 Christians were injured after they were attacked while peacefully protesting an attempt to occupy church land. Shanti Mondol, President of the St. Peter’s Church of the Protestant Church of Bangladesh in southern Barishal city, said about 250 church members had been protesting against a move to fill in a large pond on church land. He said dozens of members of the Barishal District Bar Association, allegedly linked to the ruling Awami League party, attacked the protesting Christians, injuring 15 protesters, including 10 women.
The Christians had formed a human chain to protest against the move to fill up the pond — which has been used for baptisms since 1849 — in order to construct a 10-storey court building. The attackers allegedly led by a few lawyers snatched away banners and placards, and attacked the participants. Eyewitnesses said all the injured have received treatment at local clinics. Later, police rushed to the spot and escorted the Christians to safety.