Four rallies in Esplanade and on Chowringhee threw traffic out of gear on Thursday. Vehicles stood bumper-to-bumper from 2 pm till 5.30 pm on Park Street, Chowringhee Road, Mayo Road, Central Avenue and the surrounding areas as demonstrators of varied hues took to the streets.
Deputy commissioner of police (headquarters) Sivaji Ghosh said the CPI(M-L) blocked Chowringhee in front of American Center to protest US plans to attack Iraq. Ghosh said 700 people gathered on the road for about two hours from 2 pm. Senior police officers persuaded them to move away from a portion of the road. Vehicles moved by at a snailís pace in single file.
Around the same time, more than 250 SUCI supporters held a sit-in opposite Metro cinema to protest deteriorating conditions in hospitals till 5 pm.
Two thousand workers of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), affiliated to Intuc, gathered at the intersection of Mayo Road and Red Road and marched to the FCI office on Royd Street through Lindsay Street and Free School Street. Then they went to another FCI office on Middleton Row. Intuc leaders addressed a meeting there, disrupting traffic from 2 pm till 5.15 pm.