The move comes two days after the state government promulgated an ordinance allowing jallikattu to be conduted.

Cops start clearing out protesters at Marina Some leave voluntarily others forcefully evicted
news Jallikattu Monday, January 23, 2017 - 07:38

Nearly a week after largescale protests in Chennai over the jallikattu issue, thousands of police personnel evicted protesters from the Marina Beach on Monday morning.  This action by the police personnel comes a day after protesters expressed unhappiness over the ordinance promulgated by the state government and vowed to continue their agitation until a “permanent solution” to the ban on the bull-taming sport was found.

Chennai Police Commissioner S George was also present at the spot during the eviction. Reports suggest that the police arrived at the Marina Beach at around 5:30am.

Using a microphone, Deputy Commissioner Balakrishnan first made an announcement asking people to leave. While some people left voluntarily, including women and children, others continued to remain at the Marin Beach. Police used force with those who resisted.  

Television visuals showed police personnel urging the protesters to leave even as some cried asking, “Why are you doing this to us? Were we not peaceful?”

Some sections of the crowd chanted the national anthem, singing, "Jaya he, Jaya he", as they were evicted by police. 

Hundreds of protesters formed a human chain and threatened to jump into the sea if the police forcibly evict them.  Many others sat down on the beach and were forcibly dragged out by police. 

Many protesters came on camera to allege that it is a forceful and unjust eviction.

"Police came at 5:30am to disperse the crowd. They forcefully removed us. They even hit women. We ran towards the sea and they chased us away. We weren't spared on the main road either. We were being assaulted. How can those meant to protect us, fail us?" N Parthiban, a 23-year-old designer from Triplicane said.   

Geetankali Kolattur, an 18-year-old college student said, “I have been here for 4 to 5 days. Police came close to 6am. They said they wanted to talk peacefully. They showed us a paper and said it was an ordinance. Two friends and I refused to leave. They assaulted us and forcefully sent us out.”  

Police also reportedly used barricades to block roads leading up to Marina Beach, chasing pro-jallikattu supporters who were arriving for the day.

Schools and colleges in Chennai were also declared open by the state government on Monday. Several institutes had declared a holiday after thousands of students joined the protest.    

Similar scenes were witnessed in Coimbatore, with police clearing out protesters who have been demonstrating at the VOC grounds. Police also evicted pro-jallikattu supporters from Madurai's Tamukkam.

In areas like Mylapore and Triplicane in Chennai, the police resorted to lathicharge and fired tear gas shells to disperse the mob, who were indulging in stone pelting. 

The decision to evict protesters also comes on the day Tamil Nadu Legislature is expected to convene. The legislature is expected to table a bill that will replace the ordinance, paving the way for the conduct of jallikattu.

Speaking to CNN-News 18, Education Minister Mafoi Pandiarajan defended the eviction stating, "We can't have miscreants hijacking the protest. There are anti-social elements at Marina Beach. No force was used by TN police. The crowds were dispersed peacefully." He also added that amendments would be passed at the Assembly session on Monday and requested the main opposition party DMK to support the bill.  

The state government had on Saturday promulgated an ordinance, taking the assent of the Home Ministry, the President, and the Governor allowing the conduct of the bull-taming sport. Despite the state’s efforts, protesters at Alanganallur in Madurai refused to hold jallikattu, embarrassing Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who was scheduled to inaugurate the event on Sunday.

Demonstrators fear that the ordinance can be struck down by the Supreme Court and demand that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act be amended and that the bulls be removed from the list of banned performing animals.

Protests at Marina Beach began last Tuesday with a small group of demonstrators leading the agitation demanding that the Supreme Court ban on jallikattu be revoked. The protests, however, spread with thousands of students, activists, and celebrities lending support, with hundreds choosing to spend night after night on the sands of the Marina Beach until a permanent solution to the ban on jallikattu was found. 

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