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Hundreds throng Ramlila Ground to support Hazare

August 20, 2011 - New Delhi

Hundreds of people continue to throng Delhi's Ramlila ground, a prominent protest site, to extend their support to veteran social activist Anna Hazare for his anti-graft campaign.

People are cheering Hazare, singing patriotic songs and waving national flags at the venue with much enthusiasm, as his fast entered its fifth day on Saturday.rdent followers of Hazare wore caps reading "I am Anna" and other symbolic attires in support.

Fumbling as support for the anti-corruption crusader surged across the country, the government first jailed Hazare on Tuesday, then ordered his release and finally, when he refused to leave, then granted Hazare permission to stage his fast for 15 days.

There was a deafening roar of celebration as Hazare emerged from the Tihar jail on Friday into a throng of fans undeterred by monsoon rains. People perched on electric poles and even traffic lights to catch a glimpse of him, and many chanted "Anna we are with you".

Earlier, Hazare addressed the crowd by raising his hand and shouted "Victory to Mother India" and "A fight for freedom has begun".

Dressed in his trademark white cap, kurta and spectacles, the slight 74-year-old has evoked memories of the ascetic independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, who is revered as the father of the nation.

The protests across cities in India, fanned by social networks, have not only rocked the ruling Congress Party, they have sent shockwaves through the political class as a whole.

Students, lawyers, teachers, executives and civil servants came out to streets in cities and remote villages stretching to the southern end of the country.

Hazare became the unlikely thorn in the side of the government when he went on hunger strike in April. He called off that fast after the government promised to introduce a bill creating an anti-corruption ombudsman.

Hazare"s exit was broadcast live across India as thousands of supporters thronged outside the jail in a deafening roar of celebration.

Many supporters had been there overnight and some had offered prayers to the Hindu gods. Others chanted "the whole country is Anna".


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