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Greek statue removed after Islamist outcry

BBC News logo BBC News 26/05/2017
Activists from an Islamist group participate in a protest calling for the removal of a statue in front of the Supreme Court, in Dhaka on March 3, 2017: Islamists groups have staged mass rallies demanding the statue be removed © AFP Islamists groups have staged mass rallies demanding the statue be removed

Workers have begun to dismantle a statue of a Greek goddess from Bangladesh's Supreme Court complex, after an outcry from Islamists.

The sculpture of Themis - the goddess of justice - wearing a sari was less than six months old, but Islamist groups demanded its removal by Friday.

They claimed it hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims and it prompted mass protests in the capital Dhaka.

PM Sheikh Hasina agreed to its removal, but secular groups opposed it.

Workers came with equipment and a crane at midnight to uproot the controversial statue, the BBC's Bangla service reported.

The statue is being removed to maintain peace, said its creator Mrinal Haque.

Analysts say this is just a sign of the rising tension between Islamic conservatism and liberal values in Bangladesh.

Protesters have long asserted that the figure, which held the familiar sword and scales of justice in her hands, amounted to idolatry.

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