An in-car rally travelling from Surrey to the Indian Consulate in Vancouver will be taking place on Wednesday.
The Punjab Kisaan Morcha Car Rally was organized to stand in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of farmers protesting agricultural reforms brought upon by the Indian government.
Thousands protest in India
The farmers — hailing from the northern Punjab and Haryana states — are marching thousands of kilometres to New Delhi, protesting three government agriculture laws passed in mid-September by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
Rally organizers explain 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.”
The car protest is set to begin at the Strawberry Hill Parking Lot at 12:45 pm and will travel to the Indian Consulate in downtown Vancouver.
COVID-19 restrictions in place
Organizers say strict COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Demonstrators must stay in their vehicles at all times and wear face coverings. Those participating should only travel with their immediate household. Physical distancing guidelines are to be followed.
On Sunday evening, demonstrators gathered in Surrey to stand in solidarity with the farmers.
Similar demonstrations are being organized in California and London.
Trudeau speaks out
A number of Canadian politicians — including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and MPs Harjit Sajjan and Navdeep Bains — have voiced concern with the ongoing situation and the rights of farmers.
Canada PM @JustinTrudeau raises the issue of farmer protests in India. Says, “situation is concerning…. Canada will always be thr to defend the right of peaceful protest”. Adds, “we have reached out through multiple means directly to Indian authorities” pic.twitter.com/SKa0GJAMzr
— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) December 1, 2020
“The situation is concerning … Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protests. We believe in the importance of dialogue and that’s why we’ve reached out by multiple means to Indian authorities to highlight our concerns,” stated Trudeau on Monday.