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The unprecedented protests by the students demanding better road safety laws in Bangladesh on Tuesday fizzled out, with thousands of agitators returning to their classes after a nine-day-long stir that paralysed the country and left over 150 people injured in clashes with riot police.

The agitation prompted prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s cabinet to approve a tougher transport law and launch a crackdown on reckless driving.

At the height of the protest, students were seen managing Dhaka’s notorious traffic and checking whether drivers of the cars and buses have valid licences and proof of roadworthiness of their vehicles.

Thousands of students of schools, colleges and universities took to the street on July 29, demanding strict implementation of road safety rules, following the death of two teenage students - a boy and a girl - by a speeding bus.

The accident took place when two buses were racing to pick up passengers on Dhaka’s main Airport Road and triggered widespread anger initially on social media and then led to a wave protests.

Witnesses said Dhaka, the city of 18 million people, witnessed usual traffic movements with public transport operators resuming their services.

“The number of buses is less than usual but they have returned to the street… I came to work on a bus after eight days,” a private firm employee in Dhaka’s Motijheel commercial district said.

Most of the schools in the Bangladesh capital reopened today after protesting students withdrew from the street.

A teacher of the Dhaka’s Milestone School said- “We have resumed our classes today with normal student attendance.”

Authorities also claimed that students have returned to their classes and every thing was normal.

“Today everything is normal. Students have returned to their classes,” head of Bangladesh’s secondary and higher education authority Mahbubur Rahman said.

“So far, there is no news of protests from any university,” he said, adding that the authorities have shut down two universities in an effort to quell the protests.

Bipin Sasi

Bipin Sasi is a seasoned journalist and a political observer from India. He can be reached at bipin514@gmail.com for any comments and suggestions.

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