(Bloomberg) -- Thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers battled police and blocked roads leading to manufacturing hubs outside the capital Dhaka on Tuesday, demanding employers almost triple their pay.  

Police fired teargas shells and water cannons to disperse workers in Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka, according to footage on local TV stations. The workers are seeking a minimum monthly wage of 23,000 taka ($209), up from the current 8,000 taka.  

The garment industry, which employs about 4 million workers, contributes about 10% to Bangladesh’s economy. It also accounts for more than 80% of the country’s exports and supplies goods to global chains, including Hennes & Mauritz AB, Adidas AG, Walmart Inc. and Gap Inc.

Labor protests have been continuing in Bangladesh for more than a week, just as the country prepares to hold general elections possibly in January. Local media reported that two workers died in violent clashes on Monday, with one of them allegedly shot dead by the industrial police. 

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association asked factory owners to shut plants if they were hit by violence. A new wage structure will be announced in November and implemented by December, Faruque Hassan, president of the association, said at a media briefing Tuesday. 

--With assistance from Eltaf Najafizada.

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