Police in Karachi last week allegedly shot at hundreds of unarmed garment workers protesting outside a factory supplying denim for global fashion brands.

Garment workers such as Abdul Basit, 35, claimed to have been charged by police with batons outside a factory which is reported to have fired more than 15,000 workers since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Nasir Mansoor from the National Trade Union Federation. He said some workers had been terminated without written notice.

The workers were chanting slogans demanding better conditions and wages when police arrived. Closures and job losses and the suspension of the normal holiday bonus, which enables rural migrants to travel home before the Eid holiday marking the end of Ramadan, had left many of the demonstrators close to despair.