Bhubaneswar: Nearly 500 people, comprising activists and leaders of five political parties, held a demonstration here on Monday and courted arrest to protest forcible land acquisition for a steel project by South Korean major Posco, a protest leader said.
The activists came in a procession here carrying posters and banners and shouted slogans against the Biju Janata Dal government. They also held a meeting near the state assembly premises.
"Around 1,000 people participated in the demonstration," Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Dusmanta Das told a news agency.
At least 500 people courted arrest after they tried to intrude into the nearby prohibitory area, he said.
The political leaders who courted arrest belonged to the Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Forward Bloc, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Samajwadi Party.
"We were opposing forcible land acquisition for Posco project. We also demanded the shifting of the project site to another area," Das said.
Posco had signed a pact with the state government in 2005 for a 12 million tonne steel plant -- the largest foreign investment in India near the port town of Paradip, about 120 km from state capital Bhubaneswar.
The company requires about 4,004 acres of land for the project out of which 2,900 acres is forest land.
The activists were angry as the government acquired some land earlier this month despite opposition from the landholders.