Protests hit Mohali ahead of semifinal

Arrests and injuries reported as demonstrators clash with police outside stadium that will host India v Pakistan match.

    A man lies injured after the protests were reportedly sparked by anger over government jobs [Reuters]

    Protestors threw stones and clashed with police outside the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali in the buildup to Wednesday's India-Pakistan Cricket World Cup semifinal.

    Baton-wielding police and security forces on horseback tried to push back an estimated 1,000-strong crowd as a protest outside the stadium turned ugly on Monday.

    A witness told the Reuters news agency that seven people were arrested and taken away in a police van.

    Injured men were lying on the grounds after they tried to escape the police action while women dressed in traditional salwar kameez suits were seen running for cover.

    Television reports suggested the protests related to government jobs in Punjab.

    A heavy security presence has surrounded the 30,000 seat stadium ever since the two neighbouring countries set up the hotly anticipated showdown last week.

    Local police told Reuters the protest was unconnected to the shortage of tickets that has angered fans in several Indian cities over the past five weeks.

    Last month's violence in Bangalore erupted after tens of thousands of fans who had camped overnight outside the 38,400-seat M Chinnaswamy Stadium were told all 7,000 tickets allocated for public sale for the February 27 India v England game had been sold.
     
    Police also used batons to control the angry fans on that occasion and similar scenes were witnessed in Nagpur on March 8 in the lead up to India's group match with South Africa.

    Ticket sales for the February 19-April 2 tournament have proven to be a major headache for Indian organisers, who are unable to meet demand for the high-profile matches, especially those featuring the home team, as well as the April 2 final in Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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