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Indian anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare arrested as protests spread

Manish Swarup / AP

Rights activist Anna Hazare waves to supporters from the back of a police van after he was detained prior to beginning a hunger strike in New Delhi, India, on Aug. 16.

Manish Swarup / AP

Supporters of Anna Hazare try to block a police van after he was detained prior to beginning a hunger strike in New Delhi on Aug. 16.)

Gurinder Osan / AP

Supporters of Anna Hazare shout slogans after they are detained in New Delhi on Aug. 16.

Reuters reports from NEW DELHI:

Police arrested India's leading anti-corruption campaigner Tuesday, just hours before he was due to begin a fast to the death, as the beleaguered government cracked down on a self-styled Gandhian activist agitating for a new "freedom" struggle.

At least 400 followers of the 74-year-old Anna Hazare were also detained, signaling a hardline stance from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against anti-government protests, a gamble that risks a wider backlash against the ruling Congress party.

Dressed in his trademark white shirt, white cap and spectacles in the style of independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, Hazare was driven away in a car by plainclothes police, waving to hundreds of supporters outside his residence in New Delhi. Continue reading.

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