Protests against Sterlite in Tuticorin turns violent as protesters clash with police
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Nine people, including a girl, died on Tuesday in police firing after the ongoing anti-Sterlite protests turned violent with hundreds of people from nearby areas allegedly attacking the District Collectorate demanding closure of the Vedanta Group-run company. In the first major incident of police firing in Tamil Nadu on protesters and resultant deaths, they first fired teargas shells and carried out baton charges to bring the protesters under control but passions were high. Police then resorted to firing as hundreds of people gathered in defiance of prohibitory orders on the 100th day of their agitation ever since the company announced the expansion plans of the four lakh tonne per annum Sterlite Copper project and attacked the Collectorate. The area around the Collectorate resembled a battle-zone with the protesters setting vehicles afire and attacking policemen with stones. Plumes of black smoke emanated from the protest site. Police retaliated in a bid to bring the situation under control. Among those who died were identified as Antony Selvaraj, Kandiah, Gladson, Jayaram, Maniraj, Tamilarasan, Shanmugham and Venista. At least 60 people, including policemen, were injured in the clashes. Many of them were admitted to hospitals for treatment.
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Protesters damage barricades during a demonstration over their demand for the closure of Vedanta's Sterlite copper smelter in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi; in Tuticorin on May 22, 2018.
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A vehicle damaged by protesters during a demonstration over their demand for the closure of Vedanta's Sterlite copper smelter in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi; in Tuticorin on May 22, 2018.