Protesters gathered outside the Indian consulate in downtown Vancouver Tuesday for what they called a “Global Day of Action” in support of farmers in India.
The local demonstrations came on the same day hundreds of thousands of farmers took to India’s capital of Delhi on January 26 — the country’s Republic Day– to continue their protests against three government farm laws they say will threaten their livelihoods.
Groups of protesters clashed with police and entered the historic Lal Quila (Red Fort).
For weeks, farmers predominantly hailing from India’s northern Punjab and Haryana states have been camped outside the borders of Delhi.
The laws bring corporations into India’s controlled agricultural sector, and the farmers are concerned they’ll be at the mercy of big business.
In a statement, Our Avaaz, a group that has been organizing local protests here in Metro Vancouve,r noted that solidarity rallies for farmers have been taking place “in Canada, the United States, Australia, the UK, Germany and Denmark to bring attention to India’s history of oppressive actions as vulnerable farmers and their families continue to protest in Delhi.”
The focus of today’s protests was to mark a Global Day of Action, which encouraged “global citizens and the Indian diaspora to #askindiawhy,” stated organizers.
“This hashtag will connect efforts by supporters around the world to keep India accountable for human rights abuses and to highlight that global attention is turned to the farmer protest in Delhi with the expectation of a peaceful resolution.”
“These protests might feel like they are worlds away, but they are fighting for the same things we all value here at home – including the right to earn a living and feed our families” stated Mo Dhaliwal, of the Poetic Justice Foundation, in a press release.
“Farmers believe the agricultural reform laws introduced by the Indian government will drive down crop prices, devastate their earnings and allow private players to dictate food prices, driving small farmers even further into debt. Their concerns must be heard and their right to peacefully protest must be protected.”