US Consulate in Chennai shut for three days

US Consulate in Chennai shut for three days

US Consulate in Chennai shut for  three days

The US Consulate in Chennai will be closed for three days starting from Monday till September 19, as anti-American protests by various Muslim groups continued for the fourth day against an American film denigrating Prophet Mohammed.

While the Consulate here will also be closed on Thursday coinciding with the local holiday for ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ festival, the other US Consulates across the country and the American  Embassy in New Delhi will remain open for consular services, the Consulate announced in a statement here.

Following protests by the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam, which had turned violent on Friday last, and subsequent protest-march by a large number of volunteers including women of the ‘Tauheeth Jamaat’, on Monday, over 100-strong Muslim group in the city brought out a procession, condemning the film.

The protestors, said to be the members of a Shia group, later sought to lay siege the US Consulate office near Gemini circle here, but were rounded up by the city police. Traffic on the busy road came to a grinding halt for some time due to tension. The dalit leader and UPA MP, Thol Thirumavalavan, heading the Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi, held a separate demonstration near the Chepauk Stadium, demanding for a “complete ban” on the film.

In a related advisory, the American Consulate advised the US citizens travelling “in and around Chennai to exercise caution and monitor local media for security updates.” It said that those citizens from the US who are travelling and residing abroad should enrol in the Smart Traveler Enrolment Programme (STEP).

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