Tensions arose at the Singhu border near Delhi on Friday after a group of around 200 people, who claim to be locals of the area, barged into the protest site and vandalised it, NDTV reported. The farmers retaliated, and stones were pelted by demonstrators from both sides.

This happened despite heavy security deployment in the area. It was unclear how the group of people managed to enter the site of the farmers’ protest, where journalists and even water tankers are not allowed to enter, the channel reported.

“They are not locals, but hired goons,” said 21-year-old Harkirat Mann Beniwal from Punjab’s Khana district, PTI reported. “They were throwing stones, petrol bombs at us. They attempted to burn down our trolleys also. We are here to resist them. We won’t leave the place.”

The people who entered the area tried to vandalise the tents pitched by farmers. The police initially did not try to stop the group, according to NDTV. But once the situation escalated, the police resorted to the use tear gas shells and baton-charged the demonstrators.

Delhi Police Station House Office (Alipur) Pradeep Paliwal was injured in the clashes after a man attacked him with a sword, an official told PTI. He added that police detained the man who attacked the station house officer. Visuals from the site showed the man holding a sword

The group of people, who claim to be locals, have been demonstrating at the site demanding the area be vacated. They alleged that the farmers had “insulted” the national flag during their tractor parade on Republic Day, referring to the violence at Red Fort.

Security was also increased at two other protest sites – Tikri and the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border at Ghazipur – after clashes had erupted between the police and protestors, resulting in the most violent escalation in two months of a generally peaceful agitation on Tuesday.