LAHORE - Hundreds of auto-drivers riding on three-wheelers yesterday took out a protest rally from Lorry Adda to Lahore railways station to condemn the so-called taxes and fine tickets issued by the Lahore transport company.

More than 150 traffic wardens including senior officers were sent to the route of the rally to provide alternative routes to the motorists as the massive protest triggered traffic jumbles in the city’s downtown yesterday.

The rickshaw drivers continued their protest for several hours, demanding the government to take notice of the illegal actions being done by the Lahore transport company against the drivers of three-wheelers. The protesters also urged the government to take notice of the highhandedness of the railways police. They said that the railways police were extorting at least Rs 200 from each auto-driver under duress on a daily basis.

As the protest rally disrupted the flow of vehicular traffic in the busy area on Sunday, the city traffic police sent more reinforcement to control the situation. A good number of traffic wardens remain deployed on various city roads for several hours. They were left with no other choice except to wait for hours as the angry protesters refused to clear the blocked roads.

Later, senior police officers reached the spot and managed to disperse the protesters after holding a series of negotiations with them. The traffic policemen heaved a sigh of relief as the protesters left the road. Lahore DIG Traffic Syed Ahmed Mobin lauded the efforts of city traffic police for providing safe and smooth routes to the motorists as alternative routes during the hours-long protest rally. In a press statement issued last night, the chief traffic officer said that additional traffic police contingents are sent to clear the road whenever protesters try to disrupt the flow of traffic on city road.

According to a police spokesman, at least 150 traffic wardens in addition to four DSPs and six police inspectors were called in to handle the traffic mess following yesterday’s rallies in Lahore. A religious group also staged a protest demonstration on the Mall while another protesting party staged the demonstration outside the Lahore Press Club on Sunday.

DIG Ahmed Mobin said that the traffic officers are struggling to keep smooth the flow of traffic in the city where several roads are dug-up and construction work is underway on mega projects.

The chief traffic officers also appealed to the protesters to cooperate with the traffic policemen instead of multiplying the miseries of the motorists.