Right from afternoon, hundreds of policemen stood guard at Chennaiās Anna Salai, anticipating protesters who wanted the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders at the MA Chidambaram stadium on Tuesday cancelled. Many political groups had announced earlier itself that they would oppose the matches being conducted at a time when the state was protesting against the centre's indecision in forming the Cauvery Management Board.
Around 4.30 pm, the first set of protesters marched in. The cadres of the Tamizhar Vazhvu Urmayi Katchi (TVK) wanted to march from Anna Salai and storm into the Chepauk stadium. They were stopped by the police and after a few minutes of a sit-in-protest, they were pushed into vans. But even before the police could finish this, the next set of protesters reached near the Anna statue.
However, what came next is what is widely being regarded as a failure of intelligence. Several groups including the VCK, Naam Thamizhar, SDPI, came in troves and descended at the Anna Statue on Anna Salai. The police jumped into action, putting barricades to cut off their onward march towards the stadium. But protesters jumped over barricades and fell on the police and media personnel on the other side.
What happened at Anna Salai
After TVK, it was SDPI members who came in holding flags and shouting slogans. Before the police could even react, hundreds of Naam Tamizhar cadre stormed into the main road. Complete chaos ensued for the next half hour on this arterial road, with protesters outnumbering the police.
Police personnel tried their best to stall the protesters, hurriedly calling for reinforcements.
This was when members of the film industry lead by directors Bharathiraja, Ram and Vetrimaran reached the spot. Lyricist Vairamuthu also accompanied them.
Director Bharathiraja's team was not allowed to proceed until the Naam Thamizhar party had been detained. This led to a heated argument between the director's team and the policemen. Flanked by his son Manoj and lyricist Vairamuthu, the director was finally allowed to pass. The protesters ran forward throwing barricades down along the way.
With the police not able to manage crowds, they found gaps within the barricades and many marched to the D1 police station, just few hundred metres from the Chepauk stadium.
It is when the police stopped all protesters at the station that things started getting ugly. Fans were caught unaware as they walked towards the stadium. TV visuals confirm assault of fans wearing Chennai Super King jerseys. In a footage shown by News 7, one can clearly see protesters assaulting two fans and forcing them to take off the jerseys.
Not just this, some women fans too were not spared. Some of the protesters harassed women fans who were wearing the CSK jerseys and asked them to change it. Two of them who spoke to TNM said that they were forced to buy shirts from pavement vendors.
Saravanan Hari, known as CSKās super fan was attacked by protesters. Saravanan had reached the venue with his body painted in yellow (the CSK colour).