Indian police ban rape protests in central Delhi

NEW DELHI, Dec 23, 2012 (AFP) -Indian police on Sunday banned protests in central New Delhi following a wave of violent demonstrations over the savage gang-rape of a medical student a week ago, an official statement said.
Areas close to the president's residence and the parliament have been declared off-limits to protesters, it said, a day after police tear-gassed, baton-charged and fired water cannon at demonstrators.
Thousands of protesters, most of them college students, rallied at the India Gate monument in the heart of the Indian capital on Saturday, demanding death penalty for the accused and better safety for women.
Early Sunday morning, police cordoned off all the routes leading to landmark government buildings and said that they had detained a group of protestors citing the prohibitory orders.
"We are here to protest a heinous crime. We have the right to protest," the Press Trust of India news agency quoted one of the protesters as saying.
Six drunk men were joyriding in a bus when they picked up the physiotherapy student and her 28-year-old male companion last Sunday. They took turns raping her before throwing the pair off the speeding vehicle.
During her ordeal the victim suffered serious intestinal injuries from being beaten with an iron rod.
The attack has triggered calls to introduce capital punishment for rapists, and the government has said it is considering bringing in legislation to allow judges to hand down the death penalty for the most extreme assaults.

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