Anti-Muslim film: Protest in Chennai turns violent again

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Muslims from over 20 outfits gathered in thousands on Chennai's Anna Road on Tuesday evening as protests against an American’s video denigrating the Prophet continued to target the US consulate general here.

Outwitted and outnumbered yet again, police resorted to mild lathicharge to push back the protesters who tried to break barricades and reach the US mission. Some vehicles were set on fire and many American flags were burnt in the rally.

Several ambulances got stuck in the distressing traffic holdup and at least seven flights were delayed as pilots waited for passengers to reach from the gridlocked city traffic.

City police commissioner J.K. Tripathy paid the price for his force fumbling once more in handling a ‘tense situation’ at a crowded public place and too close to a foreign diplomatic mission. S. George, ADGP, has been posted as CoP in his place.

There were not many people at 4 pm, the time set for the launch of the protest at the Tarapore Towers, but within 15 minutes, the crowd swelled to a few thousands. The restive demonstrators tried to push through the police barricades and take alternative routes to reach the US mission. As tension mounted, many protesters engaged in scuffles with the police. Some vehicles were set on fire.

The attempt of the protesters to go towards the mission forced police to resort to a lathicharge at least three times. Some protesters set fire to two-wheelers on Thiru. Vi Ka Salai off Anna Salai as they dodged baton-wielding police personnel.

As many as 19 police personnel and 15 protesters were injured in the stone pelting and subsequent lathicharge.

The police registered three cases in connection with the burning of bikes and the damaging of an MTC bus.

Traffic on the arterial Anna Salai was thrown completely off gear while more than 1,000 protesters offered namaz on Anna Salai not far from the Spencer junction, leaving the police in a dilemma.

The violence near Tarapore Towers was sparked off when protesters started trying to break through the police barricades to get to the US mission, where a three-tier security has been set up to ensure that there is no repeat of the violence that took place on Friday.

The police first resorted to lathicharge to push the protesters back towards Tarapore Towers at 5 pm, following which protesters starting pelting stones at the nearby building.

Police later allowed the charged up mob to go up to Spencer junction. However, when they tried to move further ahead, police resorted to lathicharge again to disperse the crowd at Pattulos Road junction.

After the second lathicharge, the crowd moved back and assembled on the middle of Anna Salai just a few meters away from Spencer junction for namaz.

“They offered namaz for 30 minutes and after that when there were dispersing some people started pelting stones at the police. That is when we had to resort to another lathicharge. The people set fire to two bikes parked on Thiru Vi Ka Salai and GP Road,” the police said.

Comments

How wonderful! They break

How wonderful! They break public property to show they care.

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