However, the police had to resort to lathi-charge, use of tear gas shells and water canons, to disperse the crowds after Left Front supporters chose to break down barricades and took to brick-batting.
The violence triggered a war of words between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Left, which alleged that the "unprovoked" police action was on the instruction of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and announced that a protest day will be observed tomorrow. According to news agency ANI, Left protesters also demanded that democratic rights of people in the state must be maintained.
However, the police have not confirmed the arrests.
Meanwhile, at least 12 Communist Party of India-Marxist leaders including three MLAs - Sujan Chakraborty, Ashok Bhattacharya and Tanmay Bhattacharjee - were detained when they tried to enter the state secretariat ahead of the "March to Nabanna" programme. The police, however, recognised them at the north gate of the secretariat and a scuffle took place between them there.
"The Left leaders and others were arrested as they had breached Section 144 CRPC which was in force around the secretariat". Left Front supporters and policemen clashed at several locations in the city and Howrah, leading to severe injuries. Another 15 Left activists were later arrested from the secretariat area. But when the marchers reached Mayo Road, they found the road barricaded and police did not allow the marchers to move beyond that point.
Police, using water canons and and lobbing tear gas shells, managed to temporarily disperse the Left workers, but they soon regrouped and confronted police again, shouting "Inquilab Zindabad" and holding aloft the red flags.
Roy also added that the police had not used brute force against the protesting workers and that the situation had come under control quickly. But police did not let us in. BJP leader Rahul Sinha demanded a judicial probe into the cops' assault on mediapersons.
CPI (M) politburo member and MP, Mohammad Salim said, "After converting West Bengal into a police state, the chief minister fled from Kolkata to avoid facing the people".
"Police action on Left Front supporters and journalists just shows how brutal the police can be". The Press Club asks the administration to look into the reasons for the incidents.