x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Police break up Dubai march for India hunger striker Hazare

The organiser of a Dubai walk supporting anti-graft Indian protester Anna Hazare has been arrested.

DUBAI // An Indian man has been arrested in Dubai for organising a march to show solidarity with veteran Indian activist Anna Hazare who is on a hunger strike in New Delhi to press for a stronger anti-corruption bill.

More than 150 Indian nationals had gathered at Dubai's Al Mamzar Beach at about 8pm on Saturday for a three-kilometre march in support of the activist. Halfway through the walk, police ordered everyone, except the organiser, to leave. "We were suddenly stopped by police," said one of the walkers who did not wish to be named. "We were asked to leave immediately. It was just a peaceful walk."

 

Members of the group, including children, were wearing badges that read: "I support Anna."

A senior Dubai Police criminal investigations official said the man was being interrogated at the Al Muraqqabat Police station for "illegally organising a march through Facebook". He said no permits had been obtained for the march.

The official said people had gathered at Al Mamzar Beach petrol station, and police units were sent to the scene. The Indian consulate said it was aware of the arrest and would provide assistance.

Authorities have urged Indian nationals to obey local laws. "It is important to respect local laws and sensitivity," said Sanjay Verma, the Indian consul general.

He said that another group of more than 150 Indian expatriates had met him yesterday morning to express their support for the ongoing anti-corruption movement. "We received a petition signed by 170 people. It has been forwarded to the [Indian] prime minister's office. That is the best way to do it, instead of violating local laws," Mr Verma said.

Tens of thousands of Indians have sprung into action in India in support of the anti-corruption protests.

Mr Hazare is demanding that the Indian government adopt the Jan Lokpal, or anti-corruption, bill that would place the judiciary and prime minister's office under the purview of a new anti-graft ombudsman. Mr Hazare, 73, is on an indefinite fast, which began last Tuesday.

A group of 12 Indian expatriates from the UAE and more from the Gulf had travelled to India to take part in the protests. Two residents from the group were also detained for more than 24 hours in the capital before they were released last week.

pkannan@thenational.ae