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Thousands protesting gang rape clash with Indian police

Massive protests against gang rape have sprung up across India. Set off by the rape and beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus, protesters have faced police push back, tear gas, and water cannons.

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Police use a water canon on demonstrators during a protest in front of India Gate in New Delhi December 23. The Indian government moved on Sunday to stamp out protests that have swelled in New Delhi since the gang-rape of a young woman, banning gatherings of more than five people, but still thousands poured into the heart of the capital to vent their anger.

Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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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 some of whom fought pitched battles with steel rods and rocks as they tried 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.

The protesters made bonfires and damaged cars and police vehicles.

Police blamed the violence on hooligans. "A peaceful protest by people has been taken over by hooligans," Dharmendra Kumar, a senior police officer, told reporters. He urged people to go home to help police deal with the trouble makers.

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.

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