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The police devised a plan to keep the protesters engaged on Wallajah Road off Anna Salai all the while ensuring that Kamarajar Salai along the Marina was sanitised. Though Rajini Makkal Mandram members protested near the University of Madras, the situation was under control allowing the cricket teams — staying at Crowne Plaza and Radisson Blu where security was beefed up too — reach the stadium around 5pm.
To thwart protesters, police sealed entry and exit points at Triplicane and Zam Bazaar. Around 4,000 personnel were deployed at all these points to ensure zero breach. “We deployed personnel at the Chepauk railway station to prevent protesters from protesting on the tracks that run close to the stadium,” a senior police officer said.
“It was a well planned operation with proper intelligence. There was no violence or injury. The protest was peaceful at the end of the day,” Chennai police commissioner A K Viswanathan said. He also commended junior officers for handling the delicate situation.
Earlier, amid all the drama, thousands of activists of pro-Tamil outfits took control of Anna Salai blocking traffic, barely a kilometre away from the stadium. Those agitating mainly belonged to Naam Thamizhar Katchi, Thamizhar Vazhvurimai Katchi, VCK and other fringe outfits. They took out a rally from Anna Salai towards Wallajah Road breaking the iron barricades. Vehicles on Anna Salai and Wallajah Road were diverted to avoid further congestion. Paramilitary forces and striking force resorted to mild lathicharge to clear the crowd.
Police said the arrested protesters include 75 cadres of Thamizhar Valvurimai Katchi, 63 workers from VCK, 53 members of Rajini Makkal Mandram, 32 members of Tamizhar Ezhuchi Iyakkam, five members from December 3 Iyakkam, 59 May 17 Iyakkam, 237 members from Naam Thamizhar Katchi. At least 69 people from Revolutionary Student Youth Federation (RSYF), 62 cine directors’ union members and, 125 people from MNJK outfit.
Spectators — some of whom were heckled by the protesters — were not allowed to bring banners, bags, bottles, laptops, binoculars, cameras or gadgets with dry cell batteries inside the stadium. After the match began, four men belonging to Naam Thamizhar Katchi hurled a shoe inside the ground creating panic. They were immediately removed from the venue and taken into police custody. But that was before Andre Russell ran amok with his bat.