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A massive protest erupted at the power centre of the country's capital on Saturday as thousands of youth clashed with police, demanding better security for women in Delhi in the aftermath of the gangrape of a 23-year-old woman last week.
The protestors, estimated at between 10,000 and 12,000 by the police, were lathi charged at least eight times through the day. About 50 tear gas shells were fired and water canons also used to disperse them as they tried to barge into Rashtrapati Bhawan to meet the President. About 40 people, including six policemen, were injured in the lathi charge and when stones were hurled.
The protest started at around 9 am when some 100 young men and women, mostly students, began marching towards Rashtrapati Bhawan. At around the same time, former Army chief V K Singh also held a protest march at India Gate. Representatives of the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena, Bharat Swabhiman Trust and student unions such as SFI and AISA also joined the demonstration. But they were all stopped by police who had a four-tier security ring in place on Rajpath.
At around 11 am, when a group of protestors turned violent and broke a barricade, police advised them to remain calm and peaceful. However, the protestors did not pay heed and continued to march towards Rashtrapati Bhawan.
The protestors then pelted stones, threw shoes and bottles at police officials, forcing them to use water cannons. The police made another announcement asking the crowd to disperse and told them they were being 'unlawful'. However, when the crowd persisted, the police lobbed tear gas shells and continued using water cannons.
Police had to resort to lathi charge when two buses and a few motorcycles were damaged by some protestors. Later, police had to take the two damaged buses towards Rajpath and form a security wall of local police, Delhi Armed Police, Rapid Action Force and Central Reserve Police Force.