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Farmer Protests Draw Strong Diaspora Support; Solidarity Rallies in US, UK, Canada, Australia

The ongoing farmer agitation has gotten support from Indians living abroad in several nations like the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
Farmers' protest gain international support

The farmer protests that have­­­­ been going on at various borders of Delhi since November 26 over three newly enacted farm laws, drew support from Indians living in Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and the United States who came out to demonstrate on Sunday. The strong show of support from the Indian diaspora has given further momentum to the farmer protests drawing international attention to the issue while the Indian government has reacted strongly to it.

United States

In the United States, hundreds of flag-waving vehicles took part in a 'kisan solidarity rally' from Oakland to the Indian Consulate in San Francisco on Saturday. The caravan of protesters blocked traffic on the Bay Bridge while moving towards the Indian. Several hundred protesters also gathered in Indianapolis.

Besides, small protests led by Sikh-Americans have been taking place across the US as farmers in India complete 12 days of protests at various borders of Delhi. Protests were held in New York on December 2 as well. There was also a protest gathering of Sikh-Americans in Chicago and a rally was held in front of the Indian Embassy in Washington DC.

United Kingdom

Thousands of protesters gathered in front of the office of the Indian High Commission in central London on Sunday to show solidarity with farmers in India. The protesters, mostly British Sikhs, shouted slogans and carried placards saying “I stand with farmers,” “India stop selling off your farmers,” and so on. Another group of protesters marched around Trafalgar Square. More than a dozen people were arrested by the Metropolitan Police for violating Covid-19 norms.

However, the High Commission has accused the protesters of being led by “anti-India separatists.”

“It soon became clear that the gathering was led by anti-India separatists who had taken the opportunity of the farm protests in India to ostensibly back farmers in India but use the opportunity to pursue their own anti-India agenda,” said Vishwas Negi, Minister, Indian High Commission in London, to news agency ANI. He underlined that it was an “internal issue” of India.

Earlier, 36 British MPs led by British-Sikh Labour Party MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi wrote to the UK Foreign Secretary urging him to make a representation to his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar over the farmers’ protests.

Canada

In Canada, hundreds of people gathered in downtown Toronto outside the Indian Consulate on Saturday to show their support for the protesting farmers and asking for the farm laws to be repealed. A convoy of vehicles in support of the farmers also turned up at the protest site. Hundreds of people stood on sidewalks holding a peaceful protest in n Saskatoon while more than 100 vehicles took out a car rally outside Canada’s immigration museum Pier 21 in Halifax, according to a report by CTV News.

Following Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s support for the right of peaceful protests by farmers amid the security forces using water cannon and teargas on farmers, India termed his comments “ill-informed” and “unwarranted”. On Friday, Canadian High Commissioner to New Delhi Nadir Patel was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) over Trudeau’s remarks.

India issued a demarche saying that such remarks made by the Canadian PM could damage the relations between the two countries. A press release on the same issued by the MEA said that the comments by Trudeau have "encouraged gatherings of extremist activities in front of our High Commission and Consulates in Canada that raise issues of safety and security.”

Australia

Melbourne in Australia saw a 'Kisan Rally' from the Indian Consulate to the Parliament House on Sunday. Protests in solidarity with Indian farmers have been taking place across Australia since the past week—such as Quakers Hill in Sydney, City Hall in Brisbane, Federation Square in Melbourne, and in front of the Indian High Commission in Canberra etc.

Farmers Protest Melbourne ??‍???@SinwerSanjeev #isupportfarmers #kisanektazindabad #FarmersProtests pic.twitter.com/k81bzP0UMQ

— Khoji Roohdaar (@PalaMistri) December 5, 2020

Continued Support to Farmers Protest

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, said, “...People have a right to demonstrate peacefully and authorities need to let them do so,” when asked about the ongoing farmers’ movement.

Moreover, lakhs of Indians living in nations like the US, Canada, and the UK have been signing online petitions to express solidarity with the protesting farmers.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting for the last eleven days at the borders of Delhi against three farm laws enacted in September amid strong opposition.

Dubbing these laws as "anti-farmer", these farmers claim that the newly enacted legislations would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporations.

(With inputs from PTI)

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