India police clash with protesters of gang rape
Protesters shield themselves as Indian police prepare to beat them with sticks during a violent demonstration near the India Gate against a gang rape and brutal beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus last week, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012. The attack last Sunday has sparked days of protests across the country. / AP Photo/Kevin Frayer
NEW DELHI Police in India's capital used tear gas and water cannons for a second day Sunday in a high-security zone to break up protests by thousands of people demonstrating against the gang rape and beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus.
Police chased angry protesters with batons as they fought pitched battles to try to get past steel barricades and a wall created by hundreds of policemen to reach the president's mansion to present their demands. "We want justice," they shouted.
Television footage showed that some protesters were injured in the clashes.
With cries of "Be ashamed," thousands flowed through central Delhi, during the fourth straight day of protests that have shaken the government and taken police aback, said CBS News' Sanjay Jha.
Indian newspapers called yesterday's protest and police action reminiscent of the anti-government protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
The demonstrations continued Sunday despite Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde promising to consider their main demand for death penalties for all six suspects who have been arrested by police following the Dec. 16 attack.
Shinde said Saturday night that the government was taking steps to better ensure the safety of women.
Official data show that rape cases in India have jumped almost 875 percent during the past 40 years, with convicted rapists rarely receiving severe punishment.
A group of protesters met Sonia Gandhi, the governing Congress party chief, and her son and lawmaker Rahul Gandhi, on Sunday and demanded a speedy trial of the suspects.
Popular yoga guru Babar Ramdev stood on the roof of a bus and pledged support to the protesters. "The government must set up fast-track courts to punish the offenders in rape attacks," he said.
The attack one week ago has sparked days of protests across the country. The victim is recovering from injuries in a New Delhi government hospital but is still in critical condition.
After battling the protesters throughout the day on Saturday, authorities early on Sunday banned their entry into the high-security zone, which also houses the offices of the prime minister and defense, home and external affairs ministries. Police evicted dozens of protesters who had spent the night there.
However, as groups of protesters marched through the streets of New Delhi and began converging on the high-security area on Sunday, authorities withdrew the ban on the assembly of more than five people there. But it set up barricades to keep them away from the president's residence.
Protesters tried to break the police cordon repeatedly by hurling stones and water bottles and pressing against the steel barricades. Policemen responded by firing tear gas and using water cannons against them. The battle continued throughout the day.
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