Police in New Delhi moved to stamp out protests that have grown since the gang-rape of a woman on December 16.
Indian authorities banned gatherings of more than five people, but thousands poured onto the streets to demand better police protection for women.
Security forces launched baton charges and fired tear gas rounds to prevent the crowds from marching on the presidential palace.
The 23-year-old-victim of the assault was beaten, raped for close to an hour and thrown from a moving bus. She is in a critical condition, but is responding to treatment.
Six men are under arrest.
New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes in India with a rape reported every 18 hours, most go unremarked.
The brutality of the recent case has roused the masses to demand government provide better policing and safety for women.