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Indian Police Clash With Demonstrators Over Gang-Rape Case

Indian activists belonging to various rights organizations hold placards and candles while they stage a demonstration in Bangalore condemning the recent gang-rape case.
Police in the Indian capital, New Delhi, used batons and tear gas to disperse thousands of demonstrators demanding protection for women in the wake of the horrific rape of a student a week ago.

The protesters on December 22 chanted "Hang the rapists" and "We want justice."

One protester, a woman who identified herself only as Kusum, said she is "petrified" in the wake of the rape.

"This is a horrific incident that has happened. The cruelty of the incident is just inhuman," she said. "I cried when I got to know about it, and I am sure every girl of Delhi must have cried, too. I was never scared to leave my office at 8 in the night, but now I am petrified and I take every step very carefully."

Police said the demonstration turned unruly when protesters attempted to break through police barricades to march on the president's residence.

Some demonstrators reportedly threw stones at police.

A government spokesman appealed for calm, urging protesters to "start a dialogue" over the issue of safety.

"The government is trying to do whatever it can to take measures and make sure that women are safe in the country," junior home minister R.P.N. Singh said on Indian television.

The case sparked national outrage after reports that the 23-year-old woman was brutally gang raped by six drunken men who were joyriding on a bus.

They then threw the victim and her boyfriend out of the speeding vehicle.

The woman is in grave condition in a New Delhi hospital. Doctors say they are "very optimistic" that she will recover.

The six suspects have been arrested. The government has said it will press for life sentences in the case.

According to government figures, the number of rapes in New Delhi rose 17 percent over last year, with 661 cases being reported so far in 2012.

Experts say a culture of abusive sexual behavior and the ineffectiveness of India's judicial system are key factors in the rise.

With reporting by AFP and AP