Bangladesh investors and police clash over stocks slide
By Serajul Islam Quadir
DHAKA (Reuters) - Hundreds of Bangladeshi small investors, angry at a new plunge in share prices, set fire to tires and pelted police with bricks on Sunday outside the stock exchange and demanded the resignation of the finance minister.
Police with batons dispersed the protesters in pitched battles that snarled traffic for hours.
The country's main Dhaka Stock Exchange General Index dived by more than 474.77 points or 7.27 percent to 6052.41 on Sunday, the steepest one-day fall since January 20.
"Who is to blame for the continuing fall of share prices? Why haven't they been found and punished?" shouted Shafiqur Rahman, a small investor.
Demonstrators called for the resignation of Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith.
"He assured us that the market will see an uptrend this week," said investor Rakibul Haq. "It makes me so frustrated and angry that this has not happened."
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina last week asked the relevant authorities to take immediate steps to stabilize markets, with about 3.3 million people, mostly small-time investors new to stock trading, relying on it to supplement meager incomes.
Share prices nearly doubled in 2010, encouraging new investors into the market. Continued...