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200,000 protesters grind India’s financial capital to halt

An estimated 200,000 protesters brought India’s financial capital Mumbai to a halt Wednesday as they demanded set quotas for government jobs and colleges amid unemployment and reduced farm incomes.

Many businesses in the southern part of Mumbai were closed and traffic was diverted as the protesters, largely from rural areas of western Maharashtra state, descended on the bustling capital in a sea of saffron flags and banners.

A spokesperson from Mumbai police told AFP an estimated 200,000 people participated in the march, which brought rail and roads to a standstill as protesters from the Maratha community pressed their demands.

“We want reservations for the Maratha community in government jobs, educational institutes, and better farm loan waivers,” Bhaiya Patil, one of the organisers told AFP.

In June, the government in Maharashtra agreed to write off loans to farmers estimated to be worth nearly $5 billion after 11 days of protests that strangled supplies to Mumbai.

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