The state's governor put the death toll at 11. Congress president Rahul Gandhi termed the killings a "brutal example of state-sponsored terrorism".
The locals are up in arms against the construction of the copper plant, claiming that it would pollute groundwater in their area, thus causing serious environmental hazards.
Angered over not being allowed to take out a rally, the agitators started hurling stones at the security forces and overturned police vehicles.
He said police had been forced to act "since protesters disregarded a curfew, acted against the advice of police", and indulged in violence.
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It has been officially announced that nine people were killed in police firing during the violence.
At least nine people were killed in police firing in Tuticorin yesterday after protests for the closure of the plant over pollution concerns turned violent. These citizens were murdered for protesting against injustice.
In retaliation, police officials resorted to lathi-charge and tear gas to disperse the crowd to contain the situation. Smoke rose from several parts of the city.
Police said almost 5000 protesters gathered near a local church and insisted on taking out a rally to the district collectorate after they were denied permission to march to the copper smelter plant.
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The Chief Minister also announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the families of each of those killed, Rs 3 lakh to those seriously injured, and Rs 1 lakh for people who suffered minor injuries.
In a video message posted in his Twitter handle, Rajinikanth said he condemns the state government's careless attitude, failure of the Intelligence Bureau and the unlawful action of the police against the protesters.
Vedanta says the protests are based on "false allegations", and that it plans to double capacity at the smelter to 800,000 tonnes per year.
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