LAHORE - Transporters observed complete strike here in the City on Thursday to protest the unjustified increase in the prices of petroleum products. They took out rallies and staged strong protest demonstration in various parts of the provincial metropolis. A good number of inflation-hit people, members of various unions and political workers also staged protest demonstrations at The Mall to protest high inflation and paralysed the routine life across the City. The protests created worst traffic mess at various leading arteries of the City as the transporters disrupted the traffic flow by parking dozens of buses outside the Punjab Assembly, Lahore press club and railway station. A great number of motorists blocked The Mall, Jail Road, Canal Road and other adjacent roads as the police diverted the traffic flow towards already packed roads in congested localities. Hundreds of workers of urban transport on buses reached the railway station on Thursday morning and blocked the road. They also staged protest demonstration against the hike in fuel prices, demanding the government to immediately withdraw the unjustified increase. They also chanted anti-government slogans and disrupted the traffic flow in the locality for more than two hours, eyewitnesses said. Later, they reached outside the press club and blocked the traffic by parking buses on the road, creating worst traffic mess in the entire area for more than an hour. Not enough, the urban transport workers along with buses reached outside the Punjab Assembly at The Mall on Thursday noon and blocked the main artery of the City by putting over a dozens of buses in middle of the road. Later heavy police contingents also reached the spot and managed to disperse the protesters after holding a series of negotiations with them. On the other hand, a great number of passengers were witnessed helplessly waiting for public transport at the bus stops to reach their destination. We will hold negotiations with the government late on Thursday night. If the government does not accept our demands we will also observe complete wheel-jam strike today (Friday), said Bashir Siyal, Chairman Urban Bus Owners Association Punjab. The rickshaw and taxi drivers continued fleecing the passengers throughout Thursday in the absence of public transport. The urban transporters association has demanded the government to immediately withdrew unjustified increase in fuel prices or allow them reasonable increase in stop-to-stop fares. Otherwise, they will continue wheel-jam strike for an indefinite period. Who is responsible for this mess? questioned Ahmed Ali, a passenger while he was standing at a bus stop at Multan Road. When contacted, Chairman Urban Bus Owners Association Punjab Bashir Siyal said the government should give subsidy to the transporters if it did not want to increase the transport fares on urban routes. We have been left with no other option but to go on strike. We will not call off wheel-jam strike unless the government redress our genuine grievances, he said. Another bus owner, when contacted, said the strike was completely observed by all the transporters against the alarming increase in fuel prices. We cannot run buses after purchasing diesel on high price if increase in fares is not allowed according to the ratio of increase in the fuel prices, he added. Meanwhile, hundreds of clerks, members of labour unions, and activists of women wing of Pakistan Muslim League also staged strong protests against the inflation and hike in petroleum products. They said the present government has badly failed to provide any relief to the masses and people are unable to meet both the ends due to cruel and anti-people policies of the rulers. The protesters also criticised the government stating the government is implementing the policies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and plundering money from the helpless masses.