Delhi protests over rape turn violent

Police turn batons, tear gas and water cannon on protesters calling for justice for gang rape victim

A policeman beating back a demonstrator with his baton near the presidential palace during the protest rally in New Delhi yesterday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Indian police beat protesters with batons after trying to disperse them with tear gas and water cannon, as demonstrations against the brutal gang rape of a student entered a sixth and most violent day.

Carrying signs saying "Hang them (the rapists) now!" and "We want justice", the confrontation began when thousands of men and women, mostly college students, marched on the presidential palace in the capital yesterday from the India Gate monument.

Protesters threw stones, plastic bottles and coins at police standing behind barricades blocking the route to the high security zone, and held their ground in the face of the police response.

The protesters, who plan to continue demonstrations today, were demanding justice for a 23-year-old physiotherapy student who is battling for her life in a Delhi hospital after being raped in a moving bus last Sunday by six men out for a joyride.