Two almost simultaneous protest marches by left wing activists resulted in minor violence and impeded traffic flow for nearly an hour in the city on Wednesday.
Activists of the Students Federation of India (SFI) had taken out a march to the Secretariat in protest against the police action on their fellow-activists in Kollam on Monday.
The student wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was agitating against the government, accusing it of shielding the killers of SFI leader Anish Raj in Idukki earlier this year.
The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth organisation of the CPI(M), had taken out a separate march to the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) in protest against the government's alleged inability to provide health care to the fever-afflicted masses in the State.
At the Secretariat, at least one policeman was injured when SFI activists tried to breach the police cordon at around noon.
In the fracas, one of the students snatched the baton and shield of a policeman and used them to attack the policemen.
The police were forced to divert vehicles away from the Secretariat area. The protest rendered a considerable area of the city inaccessible to citizens for several hours.
The scene was somewhat subdued in front of the DHS. The police had earlier closed the gates of the office and placed iron barricades in front of it. They formed a cordon behind the barricade and deployed their anti-riot platoons on its flanks. They thwarted repeated efforts by the DYFI activists to storm the office. Finally, the DYFI men courted arrest peacefully. Traffic movement in the city reverted back to normal by 2 p.m.