Bangladeshis protest after fire that killed 112

Bangladeshi firefighters carried an injured man from a garment factory fire on the outskirts of Dhaka.
AFP/Getty Images
Bangladeshi firefighters carried an injured man from a garment factory fire on the outskirts of Dhaka.

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Thousands of Bangladeshi workers blocked the streets of a Dhaka suburb Monday, throwing stones at factories and smashing vehicles, as they demanded justice for 112 people killed in a garment-factory fire that highlighted unsafe conditions in an industry rushing to produce for major retailers around the world.

Some 200 factories were closed for the day after the protest erupted in Savar, the industrial zone where Saturday’s deadly fire occurred. Protesters blocked a major highway.

The government announced that Tuesday will be a day of national mourning.


Investigators suspect that a short circuit caused the fire, said Major Mohammad Mahbub, the fire department operations director. But he said it was the lack of safety measures in the eight-story building that made the fire so deadly.

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‘‘Had there been at least one emergency exit through outside the factory, the casualties would have been much lower,’’ Mahbub said.

The garment-factory fire was Bangladesh’s deadliest in recent memory, but such dangers have long been a fact of life as the industry has mushroomed to meet demand from major retailers around the world.

The factory is owned by Tazreen Fashions Ltd., a subsidiary of the Tuba Group.

The Tuba Group is a major Bangladeshi garment exporter whose clients include Walmart, Carrefour, and IKEA, according to its website. Its factories export garments to the United States, Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands, among other countries.


The Tazreen factory, which opened in 2009 and employed about 1,700 people, made polo shirts, fleece jackets, and T-shirts.

Associated Press