Latin Church’s mega rally turns violent, tension prevails- The New Indian Express

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Anti-port protesters clashed with supporters of the project sparking tension during the mega rally organized by the Latin Church against the Vizhinjam seaport project on Sunday. Police intervened effectively to control the situation from going out of hand.

The trouble began when the protesters tried to enter the project site which was objected to by the workers of the Janakeeya Prathirodha Samithi (JPS), a group supporting the port project. Some members belonging to both groups clashed, but the police intervened swiftly to control the situation, stopping the protesters from entering the project site. They also stopped a bike rally by the JPS.

Social activist Prashant Bhushan addressed the protest meeting held in front of the project site at Mulloor. He blamed the port construction for the coastal erosion in the area. Even during his address, the protesters tried to force their way into the work site, but the police prevented them. A large posse of police personnel was deployed in the area since the morning.

The rally received receptions at Anchuthengu, Perumathura, Mariyanadu, Thumba, Vettucaud, Valiyathura, Beemapalli, Poonthura, Kovalam and Vizhinjam Harbor before congregating before the main gate of the port project. The rally began with the support of different organizations and activists from Moolampally in Kochi on September 14.

Meanwhile, the Latin Church decided to conduct 24-hour hunger strikes until October 3. The pastoral letter issued by Archbishop Thomas J Netto, asking the community members to strengthen the protest, was read out during Sunday mass. The protest led by the Latin archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram has the support of Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference, fishermen unions, Coastal Area Development Agency for Liberation, and social and environmental activists.

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