More than 1,000 vehicles drove down the Perimeter highway in Winnipeg Sunday for a rally in solidarity with farmers in India who are protesting new laws they say will destroy their livelihoods.
They held signs in support of farmers who they say work tirelessly to feed India and the world, with slogans like “No Farmers, No Food, No Future” and “Protect Farmers.”
Mandeep Singh Brar, one of the organizers, said this rally and others across Canada are meant to show support.
“To encourage them, we’re supporting from all over the world,” he said.
The new laws in India will see crop prices slashed and farmers vulnerable to being exploited by large corporations.
Thousands of farmers are protesting reforms that they say could devastate crop prices and reduce their earnings. They have blocked highways on the outskirts of New Delhi for the last 11 days.
Farmers fear the legislation will eventually dismantle India’s regulated markets and stop the government from buying their crops at guaranteed prices, leaving them to negotiate with private buyers. They are calling for the government to repeal the laws and retain mandatory government purchases, among other demands.
“The Indian government passed three laws that are against the farmers … Please listen to the farmers and respect their needs and just avoid these laws,” Brar said.
Manitoba is currently under code red restrictions. Under current public health orders, gatherings of more than five people aren’t prohibited.
RCMP, Winnipeg Police and provincial enforcement officers monitored the rally. None of the agencies said if they issued tickets.
Brar says the people who took part were told to remain in their vehicles with people from their household and wear masks. He said he doesn’t believe they violated any public health orders.
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