Thousands of workers staged a demonstration in Chittagong yesterday to protest what they said was a national and international conspiracy against the ship-breaking industry.
The workers protested a government decree aimed at improving environmental standards in the industry.
Under a government order issued in late January, ships heading for breaking yards must now be certified as toxic chemical-free before they are imported and scrapped.
The protesters submitted a memorandum to the Chittagong deputy commissioner, seeking the prime minister's intervention in stopping the "conspiracy" hatched by some nongovernmental organisations.
After submission of the memorandum, the workers held a rally at Chittagong Court Building where Chittagong Regional Sramik League President Shafi Bangalee and Jatiya Sramik League International Affairs Secretary Safar Ali spoke among others.
After a High Court order, the commerce ministry amended the import policy on January 28 making it mandatory for ship importers to submit pre-cleaning certificates from the exporters before any ship enters the country's maritime territory.
Chittagong Customs has since barred at least 10 ships from entering the country's maritime territory, as those did not have pre-cleaning certificates.