The Uttar Pradesh Police have started detaining men who were present at the Clock Tower protest site here since Saturday night. A heavy posse of policemen, armed with batons and rifles, surrounded the tower on Saturday evening and started picking up men later in the evening on the pretext that they were fomenting trouble.
"They have started randomly picking up men and boys who were here to provide logistic support to the protesters. They are also picking up vehicles and towing them to the police station," said Smriti Gupta from the protest site.
She alleged that the men who were shoved into the police van were also slapped and abused.
Later, as the men were being detained by the police, the protesters began shouting slogans like, "save us from this government."
The crackdown, according to official sources, is being done in view of the Republic Day celebrations on Sunday and also the upcoming Defence Expo that begins next week.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Vikas Chandra Tripathi said: "One woman and seven men have been taken into custody."
He said that they were arrested because they were creating obstacles for the police. "They took out a procession without permission on Friday and we have filed an FIR against 10 named and 100 unnamed persons for it," he said.
The DCP also said that the arrested persons included a young man from Jamia Nagar in Delhi who might have been trying to incite people.
A heavy deployment of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) along with the local police has been made at the protest site.
The protest at the Hussainabad Clock Tower in old Lucknow started on January 17 and has been led by women, with men mostly standing guard at the periphery.