Left Front ‘anti-imperialism’ rally disrupts traffic in Kolkata (Lead)

September 1st, 2008 - 9:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 1 (IANS) Traffic across the city was disrupted Monday as ruling Left Front activists marched in an ‘anti-imperialism’ rally to protest rising inflation, the foreign policy of the central government and the India-US civil nuclear deal.Commuters had a tough time as they were faced with traffic jams since morning with major roads across the city closed.

The rally began at 1 p.m., leaving thousands of vehicles stranded in central, north and south Kolkata.

“There were over 80,000 people in the rally. Traffic conditions were worst hit at Park Circus, Gariahat and AJC Bose Road in south Kolkata, and Rajabazar, Sealdah, Shyambazar in central Kolkata. Even roads leading to Howrah were clogged. However, no untoward incident was reported during the rally,” a senior official of Kolkata police traffic control told IANS.

Many schools like St Xaviers’ Don Bosco and Mahadevi Birla Girls declared an unofficial holiday whereas some schools like St James and Shri Shikshayatan shut early.

“We didn’t want our students to suffer unnecessarily. So we declared a holiday,” said a senior faculty of St Xavier’s Melvin D’ Souza.

Attendance in other schools was affected as well.

“We had decided to stick to our normal schedule. But the attendance was down to 50 percent today,” said Modern High School principal Devi Kar.

Traffic police started mobilising the stranded vehicles slowly after 4 p.m. after the rally ended at Deshbandhu Park.

The rally was kicked off at Park Circus in central Kolkata.

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