The billowing crowds at Connaught Place on Wednesday said it all. From India Gate to Parliament Street, all the roads of central Delhi swarmed with supporters of Anna Hazare and the Capital saw the longest protest march in recent times.
Police officers on duty estimated the figure at over 25,000. Many protesters marched in silence, the "I am Anna Hazare" line emblazoned on T-shirts, Nehru caps. "We don't always do anything to directly fight corruption. But by coming out here, I know I would be helping the people who are fighting on our behalf," said Sandeep Mishra, an engineer with Tata Consultancy Services.
India Gate pulled crowds from "satellite" protest sites like Chhatrasal Stadium, Jai Prakash Narayan Park and Tihar Jail, where Hazare chose to stay put through the day.
While resident welfare associations, NGOs, trader groups and individuals turned up unasked, it was students who stole the show.
Several students said they were on rotation fasts. Many of them danced, sang and waved the national flag. A hallmark of anti-graft protests, mobile cameras captured the spirited movement and social networking sites recorded blow-by-blow updates from ground zero.