Attempts to disperse the crowd at Marina fail

In a sudden and unexpected move, hundreds of protestors, mostly youth, who were camping at the Marina, moved closer to the shore after Police tried to disperse them.

Published: 23rd January 2017 01:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2017 01:15 PM   |  A+A-

Youth staging a protest on the Marina. (Photo | EPS)

Youth staging a protest on the Marina (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: In a sudden and unexpected move, hundreds of protestors, mostly youth, who were camping at the Marina, moved closer to the shore after Police tried to disperse them during the early hours of Monday morning. At around 11.30 AM, the protestors had a standoff with policemen, who are continuing their attempts to peacefully negotiate with the protestors. 
Around 3 AM, police, in a bid to disperse the crowd which had been present for the last six days, blocked all major roads leading to the beach and a large number of police personnel were deployed to patrol the roads. TTK Road, Triplicane High Road, Sivanandha Salai, Wallajah Road and Santhome High Road were blocked with three tier barricades to prevent the entry of protestors. No vehicles were allowed and even media were restricted. Two wheelers were not allowed. 
Meanwhile at ground zero, near Vivekanda House, more than five thousand police were deployed, including sub inspectors undergoing training. Mylapore DC Balakrishnan spoke to protestors at around 6 AM. While the protestors wanted four hours so that they could discuss the ordinance with lawyers, the police did not permit the extra time. 
For a brief time, a very tense situation prevailed at the venue with over 5,000 protestors.
Although some section had left the place, the crowd largely split and headed in different directions along the beach promenade.  All of a sudden though, the protestors grouped together and proceeded close to the shore. There, they formed a human chain preventing the entry of police men and media beyond a certain line. 
Some even threatened that if police attempted to use force, they would commit suicide by entering the sea. To avoid any further confrontation, police stepped back. 
Soon after, in an unexpected turn, a large number of people ran towards from the lighthouse side. It later turned out that there were fishermen from nearby fishing villages like Nochikuppam.
Muniyamma, a resident said, "I saw in TV that they were resorting to force to disperse the crowd. I could not just sit and watch that. We came to extend Solidarity." By, 11 AM, there were around 2000 Fishermen who sat alongside the protestors. 
Police tried to negotiate with the protestors but it failed. They resorted to cutting down food and water, which they thought, would dampen the spirits of the protestors. However, in a twist, the fishermen came to their rescue by bringing in supplies through sea. Coastal security group boat patrolled the seas but still could not prevent the fishermen. Around 5 boats came though the sea with food and water for the protestors.
"We only asked for four hours. But we were not permitted. It is this that has agitated us, we will be staying put, "Saravanan, a student said. 
A lathi charge at pycroft Road was reported where in a clash between police and students, 10 persons were injured. They were admitted at Royapettah General Hospital. Tear gas was reportedly used to disperse the crowd that attempted to enter Marina near Avai Shanmugam Salai. At Bharathi Salai, bottles were thrown at policemen and they sustained injuries. 
According to sources, fisheries minister D Jaya Kumar as well as local fishing community leaders have also been contacted to persuade the fishermen to back out.  As of now, none of the ministers are present at the spot.


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