Some vehicles were set on fire and police resorted to lathicharge on Tuesday to disperse a large number of people belonging to more than 20 Muslim organisations who had gathered to protest against an American movie which allegedly denigrated Islam.
Tension mounted as around 2000 protesters engaged in a scuffle with police on the arterial Anna Salai road and tried to march towards the US Consulate. Some vehicles were also set on fire, police said.
The protest threw traffic out of gear at Anna Salai where many diversions are already in place in view of the ongoing work for the Chennai Metrol Rail.
Meanwhile, the US Consulate, which had closed the visa section on Monday and Tuesday, extended it to Wednesday also, citing a 'local holiday,' apparently referring to Vinayaka Chathurthi.
"The US Consulate in Chennai will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, September 17 and 18, 2012, due to the ongoing demonstrations in the city. The Consulate will also be closed on Wednesday, September 19, 2012, for a local holiday," the Consulate posted in on its official website.
The US Consulate also "encourages" its citizens travelling in and around Chennai to exercise caution and monitor local media for security updates, it said.
On Friday last, Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam activists had picketed the Consulate and pelted stones damaging some windowpanes, prompting police to further beef up security at the heavily-guarded installation on Anna Salai.
Another Muslim outfit had staged a protest on Saturday while Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi activists held a demonstration in the city on Monday protesting against the American film.