CHENNAI -- Protesters fought pitched battles with police at several pockets here, especially around Marina Beach from where thousands were evicted, and blocked roads at various parts of the city with the week-long agitation taking a violent turn today.
Police fired teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge at some places as sections of protesters, removed from Marina in an early morning crackdown, pelted stones.
The agitators went on a rampage, setting vehicles on fire at a few places, including in front of Ice House Police Station near the beach.
While vehicles were gutted, the front portion of the station and the name board were damaged in the fire.
Similarly, vehicles, including cars, were set on fire by unidentified persons near Nadukuppam.
Protesting the police action at Marina, hundreds of people blocked roads and staged sit-ins in several areas, including Triplicane, Teynampet, Kilpauk and T Nagar, causing severe hardship to morning office goers.
Vehicular traffic came to a grinding halt on several arterial roads and junctions such as Anna Salai and Gemini Flyover in the heart of the city besides the IT corridor.
Several schools chose to shut early in view of the sudden turn of events while city buses were halted as a preventive measure. However, suburban electric train services were operated on most routes.
While most protesters were removed from Marina beach, a section of them refused to go and rushed too close to the shore. When police tried to evict them, they threatened to jump into the sea.
With agitators remaining close to the shores, the entire stretch from Rajaji Salai, where the State Secretariat is located, till Fore Shore Estate through Kamarajar Salai wore a deserted look resembling a curfew like situation.
A PTI correspondent, who went around the affected areas, saw telltale signs of the violence as several nook and corners of Triplicane, which abuts the beach, were strewn with stones, bricks and broken tree branches.
Police did not allow vehicles or pedestrians to enter the beach area through the approach roads.
Hundreds of students suddenly descended on Anna Salai near Periyar statue, seeking to go to Marina Bach and protest, but police baton charged them after appeals to them failed.
Trouble erupted earlier in the day at Marina as protesters refused to disperse after police asked them to vacate. Police distributed copies of the Jallikattu ordinance and explained it would soon be made into a law by the Assembly.
While a section of agitators agreed to disperse, the rest of them said they would consider moving out only after seeing further developments.
As the police personnel began to physically remove the agitators, they protested.
Police said protesters threw sand and water packets at them at the beach area and as a result they had to use "mild force".
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