CHENNAI: In what could be a first, traffic in the southern parts of the city came to a halt during rush hour on Thursday morning after protesters blocked the Kathipara flyover with iron chains, expressing solidarity with the protesting farmers in Delhi.
The protest by about 20 participants was led by Tamil film director V Gowthaman who was also seen in the thick of the recent jallikattu protests.
Traffic along the Tambaram-Koyambedu stretch and the Adyar-Guindy stretch was affected after the protesters locked the flyover with an iron chain, several feet long. According to motorists, traffic came to a standstill for nearly three km after the protesters used CCTV poles on both sides to chain the flyover before locking the chain and reportedly throwing away the keys. Police told Express that the chain would have easily weighed about 60 kg.
Gowthaman told mediapersons that the protest would continue until the farmers protesting in Delhi were given due hearing and that they were demanding formation of the Cauvery Water Management Board while also opposing the hydrocarbon project.
At around 10 am, police managed to break the chains, dispersing the protesters.
Joint Commissioner (south) TS Anbu told Express, “We did not receive any alert about the protest. We arrived only after the protest began. We have dispersed the crowd and arrested Gowthaman and six others.”
It was only the first of a series of protests that followed in the city on Thursday morning.
In Egmore, around 20 members of the Makkal Adhikaram organisation protested against Tasmac before the railway station. They were arrested later.
In the footsteps of the farmers in Delhi, two young ThanthaiPeriyar Dravida Kazhakam members took off their clothes in protest. At around 11 am, about 30 members of the party staged a road blockade before the Shastri Bhavan, demanding that the Prime Minister give the farmers audience. They were also arrested.