Prohibitionists and political and religious activists staged a protest near the controversial toddy shop at South Bazaar here on Friday to condemn the attack on the agitation by local residents demanding its closure.

The protest organised by the Janakeeya Samara Samithi was held amidst tension following the incidents on Thursday when toddy tappers loyal to both the Centre of Indian Trade Union and the Indian National Trade Union Congress vandalised the venue of the agitation and opened the toddy shop.

The attack on the agitators was widely condemned by various organisations, including political parties barring the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Large number of police personnel was posed in the vicinity in view of the tense situation in the aftermath of Thursday's incidents.

The protest by activists to express solidarity with the agitating local residents was inaugurated by Kerala Madya Nirodhana Samithi leader Thomas Thythottam. He said the local residents were on the path of a struggle for their right to live in peace. He said the district administration should take steps to address the grievances of local residents.

Samithi chairman K.L. Abdul Salam was also present. Among those who addressed the protestors included K. Sudhakaran, MP. Local leaders of the Congress, the Indian Union Muslim League and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were present at the protest.

The protest was peaceful and there was no tension in the area as toddy tappers' unions did not take out any demonstration. The hartal called separately by the BJP and the United Democratic Front (UDF) in the municipal area to protest against the attack on the agitators was peaceful. While shops remained closed, vehicles were exempted from the hartal.

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