US gas deal sparks protests in Bangladesh

A six-hour general strike whose participants demand that the country’s government cancel a gas deal with US energy giant ConocoPhillips hast kicked off in Bangladesh, local media said on Sunday.

Last month, Bangladesh government signed a production-sharing contract with ConocoPhillips to explore for gas in deep waters of the Bay of Bengal. The company said it wants to start exploring in two areas covering 1,992 square miles as soon as possible, and that it needs to conduct seismic surveys in two blocks with water depths of 0.6 miles to 0.9 miles.

Bangladesh officials say the deal will help meet the country’s increasing energy demands, but activists who organized the general strike believe the pact compromises Bangladesh’s interests.

Video footage of the ATN Bangla TV channel featured a group of angry protesters smashing a car on the streets. Security officials cordoned off the office of the protesters in downtown Dhaka’s Purana Paltan area.

Dozens of activists have been arrested during a half-day strike in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka on Sunday, the Peopledaily web resource said.

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