Dublin Protest Over Indian Abortion Death

Thousands of people have marched in the capital of Ireland to protest the death of an Indian woman who was allegedly refused an abortion.

Sky's Vicki Hawthorne, reporting from Dublin, said an estimated 10,000 people had gathered for a vigil and march over the death and the country's strict abortion laws.

The Indian government has also demanded a "transparent" probe into the death of Savita Halappanavar, after Irish doctors apparently rejected her requests for a termination even though she was miscarrying.

Deputy head of government Eamon Gilmore agreed to meet the Indian ambassador, Debashish Chakravarti, on Saturday.

Meanwhile, a minute's silence was held at Merrion Square by the crowd, followed by chants "never again".

Sinead Ahern from Choice Ireland told them: "We hope the people who loved Savita know how sorry we are for what happened to her."

Indian foreign minister Salman Khurshid earlier said: "I’m confident that the Irish government, with whom we are in constant touch will properly investigate this case and will strive for a system so such incidents do not happen again."

On Friday, ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said the concern over Mrs Halappanavar’s death was growing in India.

About 100 opposition protesters held a demonstration outside the Irish embassy on Friday - accusing authorities of committing "medical murder".

 MrMrs Halappanavar's family said the 31-year-old dentist repeatedly asked staff at University Hospital in Galway to terminate her pregnancy but doctors kept telling her "this is a Catholic country".

Abortion is illegal in Roman Catholic-dominated Ireland unless it occurs during medical intervention to save the life of the mother. There is no agreed method for determining such circumstances.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny described her death as a "tragedy", while two separate investigations have been announced.

Indian communist party leader Brinda Karat said Mrs Halappanavar's condition should have been treated as a "medical emergency" as she joined calls for a tough line with Ireland over the incident.

"The fact that they didn't is a crime and the Irish authorities are responsible for committing a crime of a loss of a human life and I think the Indian government must step in here," she told reporters.

Smriti Irani, president of the women's wing of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata party, was among the protesters outside the embassy and she was allowed in as part of a four-person delegation to meet the ambassador.

"The Irish ambassador assured us that there could be a possibility of inviting international experts to be part of the investigation and we told him that Savita's husband should also be part of it," Ms Irani said.

She added that the ambassador had acknowledged the "intense pressure" from around the world following the death.