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Eid Festival Sparks Protests, Clashes in Kashmir

Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Indian Kashmir, some setting fire to a police station and other government offices.

Protesters filed into the streets of the main city of Srinagar following prayers for the Muslim festival of Eid-al-Fitr Saturday, many waving green flags and chanting, "Go India, go back," and, "We want freedom."

Following the violence, police tried to disperse the crowds by opening fire with live ammunition and tear gas. No casualties have been confirmed.

For the past three months, Kashmir has been gripped by nearly daily protests against Indian rule. At least 69 demonstrators have been killed in the unrest, many after security forces opened fire on stone-throwing crowds.

Officials in Kashmir blamed separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for inciting the violence when he called for Kashmiris to join the protests during prayers marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Earlier on Saturday, officials released fellow separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani.

Indian police arrested Geelani earlier this week after he threatened to intensify protests against Indian rule.

Various Muslim separatist groups in Kashmir have been waging a decades-long struggle for independence from India or a merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.