A car rally supporting farmers protesting agricultural laws in India arrived in downtown Vancouver Wednesday evening, with many supporters joining the demonstration on foot.
Witnesses tell Daily Hive that police officers were on-site directing traffic, and some people were handing out catered food to cars that were part of the rally.
The protests in solidarity with Punjab’s farmers continue in downtown Vancouver at West Cordova and Howe Street. Demonstrators rallied in their vehicles from Surrey to Vancouver this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/hUNtGbOxim
— SimRan (@SimranRoohi) December 3, 2020
The physically distanced car protest, named the Punjab Kisaan Morcha Car Rally, had participants drive from Surrey to Vancouver on Wednesday. It’s in solidarity with hundreds of thousands of farmers protesting agricultural reforms by the Indian government.
Farmers in India’s Punjab and Haryana states are marching thousands of kilometres to New Delhi, the country’s capital, to protest new laws passed in September.
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The BC organizers say the farmers’ concerns are tied to the fact the reforms will “lead to the end of the wholesale markets and assured prices, leaving them with no back-up option.”
“The protection of farming rights is part of a larger narrative, including the climate crisis, water and land rights, political reforms, pro-business policies, predatory loans, multi-national safeguards, and GMO seedlings,” states a release.
Organizers also highlight the connection to BC, noting, “We are immigrants and the children of immigrants with deep ties to farming back home and in BC. Many farmers from the Punjab now call BC their home and cultivate the land here.”
Masks were mandatory to participate in the rally, and drivers were only supposed to have members of their immediate household in the car. Protesters later took to the streets in downtown Vancouver to continue the demonstrations.
Daily Hive has reached out to the Vancouver Police Department to ask about road closures, but has not yet heard back.