SAVAR, Bangladesh — A top Bangladesh court on Tuesday ordered the government to “immediately” confiscate the property of a collapsed building’s owner, as thousands of protesters demanding death penalty for the man clashed with police, leaving 100 people injured.
A two-judge panel of the High Court also asked the central bank to freeze the assets of the owners of the five garment factories in the building, and use the money to pay the salaries and other benefits of their workers.
The order came after police produced the building owner, Mohammed Sohel Rana, and the factory owners in court. The order did not elaborate but it was implied that the salaries of the dead victims would be paid to their relatives.
At least 386 people were killed and 2,500 people escaped with injuries when the illegally constructed 8-story Rana Plaza collapsed on April 24. According to one estimate, about 1,000 people are missing, indicating that the death toll could end up in the neighborhood of 1,400.
The collapse has become the deadliest disaster to hit Bangladesh’s garment industry, which is worth $20 billion annually and supplies global retailers.
Rescue efforts have now been suspended and authorities are using heavy machinery to clear the broken and crushed concrete slabs to get to the bottom floor, where emergency workers expect to find many more dead bodies.
On Tuesday, clashes broke out again between thousands of garment workers and police in Savar, leaving at least 100 people injured, the United News of Bangladesh news agency reported.
It said police attacked with sticks when the workers, who were demanding death penalty for Rana and news of the missing people, tried to break the security cordon around the collapsed building. At least 22 of the injured were hospitalized, it said.
The protesters also smashed at least 20 vehicles in the area, the agency said.