7th December 2020   •   article
Tens of thousands of Panjabis come out in US, UK and Canada to support farmers


by Barfi Culture Team | @barfi_culture.
Image: Mandee Banga
Tens of thousands of people rallied in cities across the US, Canada and the UK this weekend to support farmers in India - on a scale not seen in recent years.

It was perhaps the largest mobilisation of the diaspora in recent years.

In California an estimated 10,000 people showed up across different cities for the 'Kisan rally' - including Oakland, San Francisco, Sacramento and Union City. Smaller protests also took place in other US cities.

In Canada, rallies were held in Surrey, Calgary, Edmonton, Brampton and Vancouver.

In London, a large rally started from West London and made its way to the High Commission of India building in the centre of the city. PIctures and videos below.

California





At one point the Bay Area rally was so large that traffic backed up for miles across.

The CA rally was organised by the grassroots organisation Jakara Movement.


London


Protests also took place in London outside the Indian High Commission on Saturday in London. The rally had started in West London and made its way to central London over the course of the afternoon.



Canada







Why are protests taking place?


The Indian government says their aim is to help farmers by reforming the agricultural sector. The bill would 'cut out the middleman' ('mandis') by allowing farmers to sell directly to corporations, and would bring in more corporate investment.

But farmers say the impact would be devastating. The vast majority of farmers in Panjab and neighbouring state Haryana are small landowners, and rely on the MSP (minimum support price) to survive. The new bill does away with that system and puts farmers at the mercy of big corporations, who could drive the 'mandis' out of business by undercutting them one year, and set their own prices next year. It would put already indebted farmers at the mercy of large corporations. Even the EU doesn't do that.

The reforms would also allow companies to hoard grains, which they aren't currently allowed to do. Allowing big companies to create large stockpiles would also make it easier for them to artificially control prices and drive small farmers out of business, forcing them to sell their land.
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Top picture taken by Mandeep Banga
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