Angry protests escalated into violence in India’s capital on Sunday, after thousands of people gathered to demand justice for the victim of a recent gang rape in New Delhi and improved safety for women.
Protesters flocked to the India Gate monument throughout the day, despite police attempts to deter them and a hastily enacted ban on protesting in New Delhi, where they taunted the police and attacked the car of a member of Parliament. The police, in turn, fired tear gas and water cannons, beat protesters with bamboo sticks and arrested dozens.
By late afternoon Sunday, political parties had joined the crowd, increasing the number of confrontational encounters with the police. Protesters overturned a car, and clashes turned fierce.
The crowd, made up predominantly of young people, surrounded India Gate but was prevented from marching to Rashtrapati Bhavan, the palatial home of the president. Hundreds of police officers, many in blue helmets from the country’s “Rapid Action Force,” blocked their way.
The angry crowds jostled with the police, calling them “cowardly,” “corrupt” and “inept,” as they tried to push through the cordon. “Why don’t you come and join us?” one agitated protester asked a senior police officer. “Aren’t you angry at what happened?”
Sunday marked the seventh day of protests in India after medical student was raped Dec. 16 on a moving bus by several men, the latest in a series of violent crimes against women in northern India. The victim of the gang rape suffered severe intestinal injuries after being attacked with an iron rod during the assault and was battling for her life, doctors said last week.
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