A 20-minute protest by the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) here against the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India caused a traffic logjam for over two hours in a five-km radius around Loyola College on Friday morning.
With the recent protests by Muslims resulting in the attack on the US Consulate, the police did not want to take any chances, as the VCK had planned a siege of the Sri Lankan deputy high commission here. The police regulated traffic along Sterling Road by 9.30 a.m., an hour ahead of the scheduled protests.
The VCK cadres were restricted to a corner of the road near Loyola College, some 300 metres away from the deputy high commissioner’s office. Traffic was diverted and vehicles were not allowed on the stretch of the road where the office is located. Concertina wire was used in addition to barricades to prevent protestors from breaching the police cordon. Pedestrians, though, were allowed to walk through.
A number of policemen, clearly outnumbering the protestors, were in place in three to four rings to stop the protestors from getting near the Sri Lankan mission. After the arrival of the VCK general secretary Thol. Thirumavalavan, about 100 cadres began shouting slogans and marching towards the barricades, but were blocked by police.
Mr. Thirumavalavan sat on the road with his supporters, blaming the Congress and BJP for inviting Mr. Rajapaksa to India and demanding he be sent back immediately. Meanwhile, a group of party cadres burnt the Sri Lankan flag and effigies of Mr. Rajapaksa.
Vehicle users then started honking in protest. While protestors led by Mr. Thirumavalavan courted arrest, a couple of cadres assaulted a two-wheeler rider for giving an interview to a news channel, saying it had taken over two hours to reach the place from Valasarawalkam.
For the next ten minutes, VCK cadres arrived in small groups and tried to burn effigies but police escorted them away.