18 Indian protesters detained; taxi-driver fresh victim

18 Indian protesters detained; taxi-driver fresh victim


Australian police detained 18 Indian youths for ''breaching peace'' here as thousands of students held a massive peace rally against recent attacks on their community, even as a fresh case of assault was reported on an taxi driver from Hyderabad.

Thousands of students, shaken by a wave of racial assaults, including on 25-year-old Shravan Kumar who is battling for life in a local hospital, blocked the busiest street of the city, demanding justice.

The protest, however, was called off early this morning after the protesters accused police of "ramrodding" them to break up their sit-in.

The identities of the 18 detained were not yet known and it was also unclear whether they were still under detention.

Speaking to the Parliament, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd termed the spate of attacks on Indians as 'deplorable' and gave an assurance that his government was working to bring those responsible to justice "as a matter of urgency".

Rudd told the Parliament that he had spoken to his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh about the attacks, that saw hundreds of students take to the streets in Melbourne.

As the issue echoed in Parliament, a taxi driver from Hyderabad became the latest Indian to be assaulted here.

The victim was bashed up and punched by a passenger, who was in an inebriated state.

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