German architect attacked during protest in Dhaka



Dhaka: An award winning German architect was attacked by opposition activists in Bangladesh and her car set alight during a nationwide strike that claimed three lives, drawing a strong protest from Germany on Monday.

35-year old Anna Heringer, who won an Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007, came under attack as she was returning to the capital yesterday from a field trip outside Dhaka in a car.

Some 15 men stopped the vehicle, dragged the driver out, smashed the windows and set the car alight as "fearing for her life, Ms Heringer jumped out of the car and managed to abscond," said a statement from the German embassy.

The German embassy reacted strongly and said it was appalled by the attack during the nationwide blockade that also injured scores of people.

"The German Embassy is appalled by this hideous attack... Ms Heringer is one of the most renowned contemporary German Architects," it said.

The statement said German Ambassador Albrecht Conze sent a letter of protest to main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia, and reported the incident to the Foreign Ministry.

It said Heringer is on an official visit to Bangladesh sponsored by the German development agency GIZ while "on her long attachment to Bangladesh over many years, Ms Heringer has dedicated much time and effort to assist Bangladesh on its way out of poverty".

Heringer's work has been on display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at the Biennale at Venice.

This was the second such protest by a foreign embassy in a week after the US on December 4 blasted an attack on a vehicle of its embassy in Dhaka that injured the driver along with several policemen during a stoppage enforced by fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, an ally of BNP.

"The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack on our diplomatic vehicle in Dhaka today," a US embassy spokeswoman said at that time.

PTI