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Saturday 18 November 2017

Fans of Indian bull-taming sport attack police station

Thousands of protesters have demanded the ban on the sport to be permanently overturned (AP)
Thousands of protesters have demanded the ban on the sport to be permanently overturned (AP)

Fans of a traditional bull-taming sport in southern India have attacked a police station after they were evicted from the beach where they held protests in support of the activity.

The station in Tamil Nadu state was pelted with stones and some vehicles were set on fire after the protesters had been forcibly moved, having called for a ban on the sport to be lifted permanently over the past week.

Jallikattu involves releasing a bull into a crowd of people who attempt to grab it and ride it. It is popular in Tamil Nadu, but India's top court banned it in 2014 on grounds of animal cruelty.

Jallikattu events were held on Sunday after being allowed to resume under an executive order, but the protesters remained at their campsite to call for the ban to be permanently rescinded.

Police moved on the protest campsite after thousands of people refused to leave Marina beach in Chennai, the Tamil Nadu state capital.

Officers cordoned off the roads leading to the beach and moved in large numbers to clear the area of nearly 7,000 protesters.

A protester named Gayatri said police used tear gas and batons to clear the area. The Indian CNN News channel said at least 20 people were injured in clashes with police.

Officers were trying to remove nearly 2,000 people still there who formed a human chain at the beach, with some even standing deep in the water.

After jallikattu events resumed on Sunday in Tamil Nadu, two men were gored to death and dozens injured in the village of Rapoosal, according to reports.

Animal rights activists also call the sport cruel to the animals, who often have chilli powder rubbed into their eyes and have their tails broken as crowds try to grab them.

The executive order which allowed the sport to resume bypassed a 2014 directive from the Indian supreme court.

The order will last only six months and could be appealed in court by animal rights groups. The supreme court is scheduled to take up the case again later this week.

AP

Press Association

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