The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ruled Bangladesh since 2009 but in recent months it has been shaken by mass protests demanding an end to the decades-old system of discriminatory civil service recruitment. The opposition has denied involvement.
In the latest violence, an angry crowd set a bus ablaze on Friday after it hit a motorcycle and killed the rider in heavily congested Dhaka, where traffic has been paralyzed and 317 buses burnt in protests that have injured 51.
Law Minister Anisul Huq told a separate briefing that if police investigations found drivers to have deliberately caused accidents to kill someone, they would face death penalty under the country's penal code. "Not only has an actress spread rumours, but we have also seen that a senior BNP leader had instructed his party activists to participate in the ongoing protests", the minister further said.
Students have now been protesting for nine days, and have ignored repeated calls from the government for them to return home.
He said: "We strongly support the spirits of the young students in Bangladesh, who showcased few examples of detecting the irregularities related to road safety violations".
On Saturday, the U.S. ambassador's vehicle was set upon by a mob.
However, police will not behave badly with the real protesters.
Local media reported that political activists belonging to the governing party beat students marching towards their offices, but Obaidul Quader, general secretary of the Awami League, said the party activists acted in self-defence as the students attacked first.
The protest by school students has blocked major intersections and compelled bus operators to suspend services in the Bangladesh capital.
Alam's organisation, Drik Picture Library, said 30 to 35 men in plainclothes swept into his Dhaka apartment building, saying they were police detectives, and took him into custody.
Asked what the police would now do, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia said: "We have taken all necessary steps to control the law and order situation".
Bangladeshi students shout slogans during a protest in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018.
"There is no justification whatsoever for detaining anyone for exclusively peacefully expressing their views", Omar Waraich, Amnesty's deputy South Asia director, said in a statement.
Protesters, some as young as 13, have been stopping traffic on Dhaka's notoriously clogged streets to check vehicles and drivers have valid documents before letting them drive on.
Witnesses said police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at demonstrators and that alleged pro-government activists attacked youngsters, including some of those rushing to nearby hospitals for treatment. The details are still emerging, but reports indicate that several student protesters have been injured in the clashes. The owners and workers of the bus companies have said they will not run their vehicles unless they feel safe after dozens of vehicles were either vandalized or torched in Dhaka and elsewhere.