Chennai: Some vehicles were set on fire and police resorted to a lathicharge to disperse a large number of people belonging to more than 20 Muslim organisations who gathered to protest against an American movie which allegedly denigrated Islam.
Tension mounted as protesters engaged in a scuffle with police on arterial Anna Salai and tried to march towards the US Consulate here. Some vehicles were also set on fire, police said.
About 2000 protestors from 23 Muslim organisations gathered to protest against the controversial film and tried to march towards the US Consulate here.
The protest threw traffic out of gear at Anna Salai where many diversions are already in place in view of ongoing Chennai Metrol Rail work.
Meanwhile, the US Consulate, whose visa section was closed on Monday and Tuesday, extended it to Wednesday also,citing a `local holiday,` apparently referring to Vinayaka Chathurthi.
"The US Consulate in Chennai will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, September 17 and 18, 2012, due to the ongoing demonstrations in the city. The Consulate will also be closed on Wednesday, September 19, 2012, for a local holiday," the Consulate posted in its official website.
The US Consulate also "encourages" its citizens travelling in and around Chennai to exercise caution and monitor local media for security updates, it said.
On Friday last, Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam activists had picketed the Consulate and pelted stones damaging some windowpanes, prompting police to further beef up security to the heavily-guarded installation on Anna Salai.
Another Muslim outfit had staged a protest on Saturday while Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi activists held a demonstration in the city yesterday protesting the American film.