Plainclothes policemen detain a man during clashes after police urged the residents to remain indoors during an extended lockdown to slow the spreading of the coronavirus in Ahmedabad, India. PHOTO: REUTERS

Police clash with crowds in Indian city after stricter lockdown

Some people got agitated, and started pelting stones on the forces, says police commissioner

Reuters May 08, 2020
AHMEDABAD: Some residents frustrated over a strict coronavirus lockdown in Ahmedabad, the largest city in the western Indian state of Gujarat, hurled stones and were met with teargas in clashes with paramilitary forces on Friday.

Authorities in the city ordered all shops, except those selling milk and medicines, to close on midnight Wednesday until May 15, implementing a stricter lockdown than the national one in place since March 25, in an effort to curb a rise in infections.

Clashes erupted in the Shahpur locality of Ahmedabad when police and paramilitary forces tried to enforce the lockdown, asking people to stay indoors.

“Some people got agitated, and started pelting stones on the forces,” city police commissioner Ashish Bhatia told Reuters. “The police fired teargas shells to disperse the crowd. The situation is under control now,” he said.

Local TV showed crowds chasing away the police and paramilitary teams. Bhatia said one policeman was injured and eight people had been detained.

Ahmedabad is one of the worst-hit cities in India. The city has reported more than 5,000 cases of coronavirus, accounting for about 70% of the total cases in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state. The city has also accounted for more than three quarters of the deaths in Gujarat.

Overall, India has reported 56,342 cases, of whom at least 1,886 people have died.

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