How the protest turned violent

HT Correspondent

New Delhi, Dec. 23 -- As many as 125 tear gas shells and several rounds of water cannon jets couldn't stop Delhiites from expressing their anger and disgust on Saturday over the brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old.

Two instances - around noon and at about 5.30pm - witnessed the most chaotic conditions as police used all possible force to control the crowd.

Initially, the police were caught unawares as a large number of people started pouring at India Gate and Vijay Chowk since morning. They soon erected barricades to stop people from rushing towards Rashtrapati Bhawan and deployed large number of personnel armed with lathis, tear gas shells and water cannons.

After 11.30am, the numbers swelled, virtually turning Vijay Chowk into India's Tahrir Square.

"Protesters wanted to cross the barricade at the edge of the South Block and North Block to go towards Rashtrapati Bhawan. When we stopped them, they started pelting stones, sandals, bangles and coins at us," said a police officers.

Demonstrators even vandalised police buses, hoardings and damaged heavy iron barricades.

As the gathering grew to occupy the whole of Vijay Chowk at 5.30pm, police approached the spot from all sides.

The chaos also led to mowing of the manicured lawns and seasonal flowerbeds outside the North Block and South Block.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.