After a speeding bus struck and killed two students in Dhaka, Bangladesh, their peers began to pour into the streets to demand justice.

Since then, tens of thousands of students, many dressed in school uniforms, have essentially shut down the capital, blocking roads and preventing transit through much of the city.

They're calling for improvements to road safety in Bangladesh, where around 12,000 people are killed in road accidents each year.

As the protests grew in recent days, students stopped vehicles - including those belonging to government officials - to ask them for their papers and licenses.


Some buses have been vandalised and set on fire, including one that was set ablaze after it hit and killed a motorcyclist on Friday.

The Daily Star said bus services have been suspended around the country because major roadways in Dhaka are now blocked and drivers fear the huge crowds of students.

Clashes broke out after police used tear gas and batons to scatter protesters. AFP said students were fighting with other young adults. The news agency also reported that more than 100 people were injured after police fired rubber bullets into the crowds. "A few of them were in very bad condition," one doctor told AFP.

The Government closed high schools on Thursday in an effort to put an end to the protests.

Bangladeshi students shout slogans as they block a road during a protest in Dhakaon August 1st. Photo / AP
Bangladeshi students shout slogans as they block a road during a protest in Dhakaon August 1st. Photo / AP

The Daily Star reported that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina encouraged students to quit protesting so they could return to class. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal spoke on the Government's behalf, saying "all the demands raised by the agitating students are logical, and the process to implement those demands is underway."

Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan questioned the protesters' fury, saying that in India, a recent crash killed more than 30 people, "but do they talk about it the way we do?" He apologised after outrage on social media, with many people calling for him to step down. Bangladeshi news outlets reported that he later visited the families of one of the students killed by the bus to apologise.