Rickshaw-pullers in Barishal demonstrated yesterday, demanding relief and rations amid the "strict lockdown".
At least 500 rickshaw-pullers took part in a procession that started from Ashwini Kumar Hall at 11:30am, organised by Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal and its workers' front.
They rode their empty rickshaws through Sadar Road, Hospital Road, Nathullabad Amtala, and ended the march in front of the city corporation office in the city. They also held a rally there.
"We earn our living by pulling rickshaws. How will we survive if we can't work?" said Bachchu, a rickshaw-puller.
"Police harass us whenever we bring out our rickshaws, but what options do we have?" said another rickshaw-puller Kuddus.
Manik Hawlader, general secretary of Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD), said, "During the previous 'lockdown', rickshaw-pullers received some help from the city corporation and deputy commissioner, but this time nothing came from the either side."
"There are 5,000-6,000 rickshaw workers in Barishal. No one is thinking about them. Many have moved to villages, and some are living in dire conditions in slums," said Dulal Mallik, president of Rickshaw-Van Drivers' and Workers' Union.
Manisha Chakraborty, member secretary of BSD Barishal city committee, said, "We are not opposing the 'lockdown'. We are demanding rations for the workers who have to work daily to make ends meet. We are demanding free Covid-19 tests for them as well. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure this."