Protest tents in front of Secretariat removed at midnight; clashes occur
Thiruvananthapuram: Over 10 protest tents built in front of the Secretariat was removed by the municipality with the help of police force. The removal of the tents started at 11.30 pm on Monday and continued for about one hour. Those who refused to withdraw from the tents were forcefully moved from the place.
Parassala native Sreejith has been continuing his protest for the past two years demanding to punish those behind the death of his brother Sreejiv who had died allegedly due to custodial torture. He is continuing with the protest on the roadside even after removing the tent. Police removed those who supported Sreejith also.
The authorities informed that the protest tents are removed ahead of the Attukal Pongala. The municipality health wing employees struggled hard to remove all the tents including the one set up by KSRTC empanelled employees.
Though some of the protestors opposed the police move, the tents were removed quickly and the remnants were shifted in lorries. About six loads full of waste materials including liquor bottles, kerosene, stove and plastic waste were collected from the tents.
It was hard to remove some of the tents which were found to have welded to the grill of the Secretariat. More than 50 plastic chairs were found in some tents which were given for rent to other protest tents, authorities alleged.
The protestors of the Arippa Land issue themselves removed their tent and other objects. But Sreejith refused to take the flex set up at the venue. He and his supporters also tried to block the police while they were removing the tent.
Sreejith jumped onto the moving police vehicle and threw away the materials loaded in it. Later, police stopped the vehicle and forced Sreejith to get down. Police force led by Cantonment CI disbursed people assembled in the place by 12.30 am.
The removal of protest tents was started in during the tenure of A. K. Antony-led government. But many tents were built later along the wayside leading to road blockade and traffic disruption. The removal of tents started again after years.