LAKKI MARWAT, March 20: Police resorted to baton charge and fired shots in the air to disperse protesting workers of Lucky Cement Factory here on Sunday.

Police also arrested over two dozen protesters, including their leaders, according to reports reaching here from Darra Pezu town.

Reports say that the situation went out of control when factory management reportedly refused to hold talks with the protesting workers to meet their demands. The labour leaders along with large number of workers had gathered on the premises of the factory as they had been assured on Saturday that the management would hold talks with them.

The labourers had gone on a strike on Saturday to protest against enhancing duty hours for security staff and to press the management for fulfillment of their other demands. On Sunday, the factory management refused to hold talks with the labour leaders, closed the factory and asked the protesting workers to leave the premises.

Reports say that as soon as the workers came out of factory the police baton charged them and arrested 31 protesters. Police also fired shots in the air to disperse the workers.However, sources claimed that some workers came to the main gate of the factory and asked the police personnel to allow them to enter the factory to deposit their weapons. On refusal, the workers scuffled with the police, sources said.

A police official of Shaheed Haibat Ali Khan police station said that police did not resort to baton charge nor did they resort to aerial firing. “We tackled the situation very wisely and took the weapons the protesting workers were possessing into our custody,” he maintained.

He said the arrested workers had been shifted to police station and they would be charged under relevant section of law. The LCL deputy general manager Mohammad Anwar Tariq didn't attend the phone calls this correspondent made to know his viewpoint on the matter.

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