New Delhi: The early morning crackdown on Anna Hazare and his team triggered nation-wide protests with people from different walks of life demanding his immediate release and voicing support to the Gandhian's demand for a strong Lokpal.

Besides his home state Maharashtra, widespread protests and sit-in demonstrations were held in various places in the east, north and south.

Hazare's village Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra witnessed protests with people coming out on the roads along with their cattle and blocking the traffic.

"The entire village is observing a bandh on Tuesday," 73-year- old Hazare's associate Datta Awari said, adding that villagers have decided to observe a fast to express solidarity with him.

Responding to Hazare's call to fill jails as part of his campaign against corruption and demand for a strong Lokpal Bill, his supporters courted arrests in Mumbai, while protests against his detention gathered momentum across Maharashtra.

Social activist Medha Patkar led the protests at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai.

In Pune, supporters of Hazare gathered at a square in the city to condemn the police action and his detention, while in Nashik, a rally was taken out.

In Nagpur, a large number of people courted arrest. Donning 'Gandhi' caps with slogans 'I am Anna' supporters gathered at the Reserve Bank of India Square in Civil Lines on busy Nagpur-Jabalpur national highway. TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu said in Hyderabad that the police action against Hazare was totally "undemocratic and unconstitutional."

Asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to apologise to the nation for action against Hazare and other social activists, Naidu said the police action against Hazare and his team is "the height of the despotic rule of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre that is suppressing all civil rights".

Describing his detention as dangerous for democracy, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Jharkhand counterpart Arjun Munda said one cannot snatch one's right to protest peacefully.

The police crackdown is "a rehearsal of Emergency and murder of democracy which people will never tolerate," Kumar said, while Munda described the incident as "dangerous for democracy".

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister S K Modi asked the people to support of Anna's movement against corruption and hold demonstrations peacefully and democratically.

Hazare's detention was "more or less similar to the arrest of late Jayaprakash Narayan against corruption on June 26, 1974," he said.

The Bihar and West Bengal units of 'India Against Corruption', the umbrella body of the citizen's movement fighting for a strong Lokpal, held sit-in demonstrations in their respective states.

The Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist), an ally of the ruling Trinamool Congress, described Hazare's detention as "administrative fascism.”

(Agencies)