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ASIA: Mumbai united for peaceful protest after attacks

12 Dec 2008 9:37 PM

MUMBAI, Dec 12 AFP - Tens of thousands of people joined hands in a show of solidarity on the streets of Mumbai on Friday to symbolise their unity and resilience following the devastating attacks that left 172 dead, including nine gunmen.

Organisers claimed that between 85,000 and 100,000 people linked up in human chains, including outside the Taj Mahal and Oberoi/Trident hotels and the main railway station, which were all hit by Islamist militants on November 26-29.

The peaceful demonstration, called Mumbai for Peace, involved more than 200 groups, from non-governmental organisations and trade bodies to students movements, they added.

"We had a target of covering 100 kilometres," said Dolphy D'Souza, president of the Bombay Catholic Sabha (community).

"Indications are that we covered approximately 80 kilometres with human chains with an approximate turn out could vary between 85,000 and 100,000 people," he told AFP.

"The key purpose was to send a message that out of this despair and anguish citizens are going through ... we are united, we want peace and nobody can create any wedge or difference to divide us. We are Indians first and last."

Mumbai has seen a number of demonstrations by citizens since the attacks, with many calling for better governance and leadership from the country's politicians.