Anti-loadshedding protests go violent

PESHAWAR: Police used tear gas and resorted to baton charge on Friday to break an anti-loadshedding protest as anger at the prolonged power outages continued to grow in the provincial metropolis.

Eye-witnesses said a large number of power consumers from interior city blocked the Grand Trunk Road at Hashtnagri to register protest over the excessive loadshedding. They reached the Hashtnagri Chowk near the City District Government College for Women after passing through various streets and roads.

Holding placards inscribed with slogans against the government, the enraged consumers raised slogans against the federal and provincial governments and blocked the GT Road for more than three hours.

A good number of children also took part in the protest and were seen using different means to express anger at the frequent power breakdowns. Some drew sketches of the ministers and wrote slogans on the GT Road to vent their angry feelings.

Speaking to reporters, power consumers said the prolonged loadshedding was playing havoc with their lives and their business had been suspended. They said the people were going through double-agony as they remained without power supply for most of the time and received inflated bills as well.

After some time the protest turned violent as the people started pelting vehicles with stones and burnt tyres. The traffic remained disrupted during the protest, causing hardships to the commuters and motorists.

The police used force to break the protest and get the road reopened. The tear gas and baton charge led to injuries to several protestors. Some of the protesters fell unconscious. Several protesters were arrested but were released later in the day.

The second main protest was staged at the Kohati Chowk where the people burnt tyres and disrupted the traffic. They kept raising slogans against the provincial government and the Peshawar Electric Supply Company. The residents of different localities around the Ring Road also blocked the road at the Jamil Chowk to protest the hours-long power outages.

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