LAHORE  - Many parts of the provincial metropolis witnessed the worst traffic mess on Friday, as hundreds of protesters blocked The Mall for several hours.

Long queues of vehicles were witnessed on The Mall, its adjacent arteries, Abbot Road, Montgomery Road, Cooper Road, Canal Road, Jail Road, Ferozepur Road, and the Lower Mall.

The road users remained stuck for over three hours due to the traffic jam and got late from reaching their desired destinations. Traffic wardens badly failed to manage the vehicular traffic throughout the day as they had no contingency plan to divert the traffic on other roads.

Police sources said hundreds of protesters including traders gathered on The Mall on Friday noon and blocked the road to protest against the government over recently imposed new taxes.

Later, two different groups of local residents also reached there to stage a protest demonstration against the police highhandedness. They were chanting slogans against the police and the federal government. Also, a number of activists of a religious organization took out a protest rally on The Mall to express solidarity with their Palestinian brothers.

The protesters blocked both sides of the Mall road, city’s most important artery, at least for six hours. The traffic police were left with no other option except to divert the vehicular traffic towards alternative routes. The situation aggravated further when a great number of motorists left their offices for homes in the afternoon and they were diverted towards already jam-packed roads.

Some traffic wardens were seen standing on their duty-points like silent spectators as they were unable to clear the roads amid traffic jumbles. Even a few ambulances and vehicles of senior government officers remained stuck in the traffic jumbles for hours.

Meanwhile, heavy police contingents and traffic wardens reached the spot. They managed to clear the flow of vehicular traffic after hectic efforts.

A car-rider, who remained stuck in the traffic chaos for almost three hours, told this reporter that some motorists had to switch off their vehicles fearing fuel shortage amid humid weather. “It took me at least three hours to cover one kilometer distance to reach Regal Crossing from Cooper Road because of traffic mess. At some points, motorists were seen arguing with the traffic wardens,” Ahmed said. He also blamed traffic wardens for creating the mess saying that some wardens vanished from their duty points as they failed to clear the roads.

In the absence of traffic policemen, some citizens were seen helping motorists move towards alternative routes at a crossing near Mayo Hospital. The protests and traffic mess also badly affected the businesses on The Mall.