LAHORE Defying the recently imposed ban on rallies on The Mall, hundreds of students of different Madaris and activists of religious parties virtually took over the leading road in provincial metropolis for over six hours on Saturday. The charged protesters, carrying wooden-clubs and sticks, took to streets and later gathered in front of the Punjab Assembly building, also on The Mall, hours after the Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi awarded death sentence to Mumtaz Qadri for slaying former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer on January 4 this year. The massive protests and hours-long siege of The Mall triggered worst traffic mess across the City as young protesters in great number also occupied the adjacent arteries by setting the tyres on fire. They were chanting slogans. Interestingly, hundreds of policemen were also on guard on the roads to maintain law and order situation but they were standing like silent spectators. Even ambulances were seen stuck up in the worst traffic chaos as the traffic wardens failed to clear the routes for the emergency vehicles. The policemen blocked all the adjacent arteries leading towards Mall road and Lower Mall by putting barriers on the roads to avoid any untoward happening. The charged protesters were seen confronting cops by halting their vehicles and movement. The policemen diverted the traffic flow towards already jam packed road, multiplying the miseries of the motorists. There was bumper-to-bumper traffic at the Jail road, Canal Road, Ferozepur Road, Multan Road and other adjacent arteries. Hundreds of motorists remain trapped on the roads and intersections were several hours. Several vehicles, stuck up in the middle of the roads, stop working after the fuel ended, while the motorists were seen cursing the traffic policemen. Policemen deployed alongside the roads to stop the traffic movement towards protesting site were seen exchanging hot words with the people. According to police sources, hundreds of students and their teachers from Madarissa Jamia Naeemia, Jamia Nizamia and Jamia Ashrafia took out rallies and marched towards the Mall Road soon following the local TV channels flashed the news that Mumtaz Qadri has been sentenced to death by the ATC Rawalpindi. The shopkeepers at The Mall, where several leading shopping centers are located, immediately closed down their business owing to massive protests. The traders said that due to the protest demonstrations on The Mall they had been facing businesses losses of millions of rupees. They also said that businesses on The Mall had been badly affected due to frequent protests and rallies. Where are the government and the police? Should we also start protest demonstration against the protest, said Naeem Khan, a salesman at a garments shop. All the business centers situated at The Mall Road including Hall Road were closed down to avoid any untoward happening while heavy police contingents were on guard to keep the situation under control. According to the police, besiege of the Mall which begun at 3:00 pm ended after 9:00 pm. In early July, the Mall Road Trade Union Association had filed a writ petition in the Lahore High Court seeking directions to authorities concerned against the protest demonstrations on The Mall. They had pleaded that owing to protests on The Mall, the traders had been facing losses of millions of rupees. Later, the Punjab government had told the LHC that a ban had been imposed on taking out rallies on The Mall with effect from July 1, 2011. On Aug 11, The Punjab Chief Secretary Nasir Mehmood Khosa admitted in the Lahore High Court that the government had failed to implement a ban on rallies and processions on The Mall. Khosa had appeared before the Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry, and stated that the government was trying to furnish practical suggestions acceptable to all stakeholders. He said everybody had freedom of expression and the government did not want to make a law conflicting with peoples fundamental rights.