The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Traffic disruption alert over two-day Iraq rallies

A chaotic traffic situation is impending on all major city streets on Thursday and Saturday.

The Calcutta district unit of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) — the youth wing of the CPM — has lined up a two-day agitation programme to protest the US-led invasion of Iraq.

While Thursday will see a slew of demonstrations in several pockets of the city, a human chain will proceed along some major thoroughfares on Saturday, crippling traffic on both days.

According to Ishita Das, president of the DYFI’s Calcutta unit, protest demonstrations will be organised at 125 spots across the city to protest the Iraq war.

Effigies of the US President and the British Prime Minister will also be burnt. Hour-long demonstrations will be held at the Shyambazar five-point crossings, Park Circus and Park Street, among other places, from 7 pm on Thursday.

“We plan to burn effigies of George W. Bush and Tony Blair at almost all the spots. But we are trying to make our protests most effective on JL Nehru Road and Esplanade,” Das said on Tuesday.

On Saturday, a human chain will be organised in the city as part of the protest programme, said DYFI’s Calcutta unit general secretary Pratim Ghosh.

“Around 15,000 DYFI activists will gather on Park Street at 4 pm on Saturday and march in a chain along JL Nehru Road, Theatre Road and Camac Street, before returning to Park Street around 5 pm. Altogether, 125 local committees of the DYFI will take part in the procession,” he added.

The activists will shout anti-war slogans while they pass down JL Nehru Road, where the American Center is located, the DYFI said.

Protests in front of the US building and the British deputy high commissioner’s office have been targeted as the high points of Saturday’s agenda, Ghosh added.

The human chain is likely to disrupt traffic in southern parts of the city. Park Street, JL Nehru Road, Shakespeare Sarani and Camac Street will probably be the worst-hit.

“No major road between Tallah to Tollygunge will be spared on Thursday. We hope the people of Calcutta will bear with us, as we are protesting a war which has already killed numerous innocent people in Iraq,” the DYFI leaders said.

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