Bangladesh factory fire: 3 managers arrested


The skeletal remains of rows of sewing machine tables, covered in ash after a fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh.



Police in Bangladesh have arrested three people in connection with the fire that killed more than 100 people at a garment factory this weekend.

All three are mid-level managers at Tazreen Fashions, the factory just outside Dhaka where flames broke out on Saturday night.

"Survivors told us they did not allow the workers to escape the fire, saying it was a routine fire drill," the chief of police in Dhaka, Habibur Rahman, told Agence France Presse.

"There are also allegations that they even padlocked doors."

The arrests did not satisfy protesters, who took to the streets for a fourth day Wednesday to demand safer working conditions.

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Ashulia, the industrial district where Tazreen Fashions and numerous other factories are located, Bangladesh's Daily Star reported.

The crowd blocked roads, threw stones and set motorbikes on fire, the Star said, while police responded with tear gas. Around 20 people were reported injured.

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According to AFP, the protesters want to see the factory's owner arrested. Police have so far questioned him in connection with building rules violations, the news agency said.

Labor rights activists say that bosses in Bangladesh routinely ignore workers' safety as part of their bid to cut costs and lower prices for their overseas clients — what GlobalPost's Maher Sattar calls a "race to the bottom."

The fire at Tazreen, the deadliest ever to hit Bangladesh's vast textiles industry, has focused domestic and international attention on the abysmal working conditions in which much of the world's clothing is made.

The government has ordered two inquiries into the fire, while rights groups are naming and shaming the foreign companies believed to have had orders with Tazreen.

They include Wal-Mart, Sears, Disney, Sean Comb's ENYCE brand, Teddy Smith and others, according to an Associated Press reporter who visited the burnt-out factory this week.

More from GlobalPost: Bangladesh's garment workers brave deadly fires to make luxury American clothing

On Tuesday, Wal-Mart reportedly cut ties with a supplier in Bangladesh over concerns that Wal-Mart products were being made at Tazreen Fashions.