City police minimise security after scrutiny, though barbed wire remains; motorists relieved
A month after the US Consulate on Anna Salai came under attack by protesters, the city police have significantly reduced security around the premises. On Saturday, the service lane outside the building was reopened, much to the relief of motorists.
However, the Consulate is still fortified by concertina coils, behind which police teams stand vigil.
On September 14, police had closed the lane to traffic after several Muslim groups attacked the US Consulate, protesting against the controversial film, ‘Innocence of Muslims’.
Security was then beefed up outside the premises, and several barricades were placed from the Lloyds Road-Anna Salai intersection up until the Anna flyover, in addition to the blocking of the service lane.
According to city police commissioner, S. George, the number of police personnel posted for security at the Consulate has been reduced after a detailed study of the present security situation. “The service lane has also been reopened so that motorists can pass through the road and enter Cathedral Road or take a U-turn under the flyover,” he added.
However, over 100 police personnel accompanied by personnel of the Special Action Group continue to remain on guard outside the Consulate building. Fresh barricades and concertina coils have been laid around the building in order to block any future protests there.
The reopening of the service lane has brought considerable relief to commuters as the blockage was causing traffic congestion.
“All vehicles going to Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai from Anna Salai were being diverted. If you take Lloyds Road, it takes more than an hour to cross that single stretch,” said S. Anbuthambi, an IT professional. Motorists heading to Anna Salai said during peak hours, the service lane is very convenient as it eases congestion significantly.
But the reopening also means that those who used to walk along the service lane, after it was closed for vehicles, might no longer be able to do so.
“The barbed wire looks quite dangerous. No pedestrian would want to take a chance to walk there,” said A. Nagaraj, a resident of Alwarpet.
When contacted, U.S. Consulate officials said they did not comment on specific issues of security. “As with all US diplomatic missions worldwide, we work with the host country’s government to provide the appropriate amount of security,” a Consulate official said.