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Delhi police protest after brawl with lawyers over parking lot row

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By Reuters
Delhi police protest after brawl with lawyers over parking lot row
Delhi police personnel attend a protest after clashes erupted between police and lawyers last week outside their headquarters in New Delhi, India, November 5, 2019. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi   -   Copyright  ADNAN ABIDI(Reuters)

NEWDELHI (Reuters) – Hundreds of policemen demonstrated outside their headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday to demand action be taken against lawyers involved in brawl with officers over a parking dispute at a court complex.

“We want justice,” one of the placards at the protest read.

Policemen also said they wanted more backing from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which directly controls the Indian capital’s police force.

Dozens of people were hurt and several vehicles torched in an outbreak of fighting between police officers and lawyers at Tis Hazari court complex last Saturday.

The fight began over a parking dispute, lawyers said, and both sides have blamed the other for instigating the violence.

On Monday, a policeman was allegedly attacked by lawyers at another court complex, news channel NDTV reported.

At Tuesday’s demonstration, protesters said they wanted lawyers who had attacked their colleagues to be swiftly and strictly prosecuted. They also demanded greater protection.

“If you want to suspend us, do it. We’ll sit at home. But we haven’t joined this profession to get kicked around,” Mahendra Singh, a policemen at the protest told Reuters.

Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik tried to pacify the protesters.

“The government and the people have a lot of expectation from us because we are the protector of the law, and we must act like a disciplined force and maintain law and order,” he told them.

On Sunday, a Delhi court ordered an inquiry into the first incident and asked police to suspend two policemen and transfer two senior officers, legal news portal Bar and Bench reported, further angering policemen who said they were being unfairly punished.

(Reporting by Devjyot Ghoshal and Adnan Abidi, Editing by Angus MacSwan)