Statue and its immediate environs were literally sealed off to the public on Wednesday after the CPM laid a day-long siege to the Secretariat, paralysing work there and triggering traffic jams on city roads.
The CPM organised the blockade, inaugurated by party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, demanding food security and steps to curb price rise. It was ironical that the blockade came just a day after the Supreme Court refused to stay a Kerala High Court ban on roadside meetings. India, the SC had gone on to observe, was the only place where the right to free movement was hampered by public meetings on roads.
Hundreds of CPM workers started surrounding the Secretariat as early 5 pm, blocking the gates. The Ministers had entered through the Cantonment Gate with police protection by then, but the Secretariat was a no-go area for the employees and visitors. With MG Road blocked at Statue, the Traffic Police had started rerouting vehicles through other roads, and had deployed additional men.
But peak hour traffic choked byroads for hours in the morning. Vehicles from the East Fort area were diverted through Thampanoor, Fort and Vanchiyoor and those from the Pattom-Kesavadasapuram side, through LMS and Bakery Junction.