Posted at 09:32 AM ET, 08/17/2011

Anna Hazare’s refusal to leave jail causes protests to swell across India

Thousands of supporters of Indian social activist Anna Hazare chant anti-government slogans as they march from the landmark India Gate monument to Parliament Street in New Delhi on Aug. 17, 2011. (RAVEENDRAN - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Thousands of protesters across India were galvanized by the news that anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare had refused to leave jail unless he was allowed to continue with his hunger fast.

Although Delhi police agreed Wednesday to relax six of 22 conditions they had made on his fast, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the same time struck out at Hazare, calling his hunger strike “misconceived” and “undemocratic”.

The 74-year-old activist has employed Gandhian tactics such as courting arrest and fasting to induce the government to panic in the hopes they would pass a tougher law against corruption.

Protests swelled around Delhi’s India Gate and across India Wednesday, as people held candle-light vigils, burned effigies of government figures, mourned the death of activist Shehla Masood, and held one-day strikes from work.

Outside the infamous Tihar Jail where Hazare is being held, which also holds several government officials charged with corrpution, thousands of protesters carried placards that said, “The corrupt are selling the nation” and “Right to Protest.”

Footage emerged Wednesday of the protests, showing schoolteachers and children protesting in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, in central India:

Protests are seen in Ellenabad, in the northern state of Haryana:

See more photos below:

Supporters of anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare raise slogans as they place the a traditional spinning wheel, symbolic of Mahatma Gandhi, outside Tihar prison where Hazare was holding his hunger strike in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011. (Gurinder Osan - AP)

Supporters of India's most prominent anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare sing songs as they gather in a show of support outside the Tihar prison complex where Hazare is holding his hunger strike in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Aug.17, 2011. (Saurabh Das - AP)

An activist puts on a headband during a rally in Bhubaneshwar, India, in support of anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare who is holding a hunger strike in a prison in New Delhi Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011. (Biswaranjan Rout - AP)

A supporter of veteran Indian social activist Anna Hazare is seen with a photo of Hazare over his mouth during a protest rally against corruption in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh August 17, 2011. (AJAY VERMA - REUTERS)

Supporters of Indian rights activist Anna Hazare shout slogans during a rally in support of Hazare in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011. (Rafiq Maqbool - AP)

Indian rights activist Anna Hazare sits in a meditative posture at Rajghat, the Mahatma Gandhi memorial in New Delhi, India, Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, the day before he was jailed. (Gurinder Osan - AP)

By  |  09:32 AM ET, 08/17/2011

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