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Car rally held in Halifax in support of Indian farmers

Click to play video: 'Car rally held through HRM in support of Indian farmers' Car rally held through HRM in support of Indian farmers
WATCH ABOVE: Members of Halifax’s Indian community came together on Saturday to show support for farmers back home. As Graeme Benjamin reports, organizers hope the car rally helps people on the East Coast understand the toll the new agriculture laws are taking – Dec 5, 2020

Members of Halifax’s Indian community held yet another display of solidarity on Saturday in support of Indian farmers, who are protesting new agriculture laws.

Back in September, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi passed new legislation that farmers say could cause the government to stop buying grain at guaranteed prices. The three new laws allow farmers to sell their crops directly to private buyers instead of to the Indian government at a regulated price.

READ MORE: Halifax community rallies in support of Indian farmers amid new agriculture laws

The Indian government says the laws are part of long-awaited reform in the agriculture sector, and will let farmers market their produce and increase production through private investment.

Tens of thousands of farmers from northern India’s Punjab and Haryana have taken to the streets to protest the legislation, only to be met by violence from police. Videos have emerged of police hitting farmers with water cannons, tear gas and beating them with batons.

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“The bills are not favourable to the farmers and they’re killing their livelihood,” said Rimple Dhunna, a demonstrator at a rally outside Pier 21 on Saturday. “We are their sons and their relatives, so we are protesting against Indian government.”

“Most of us belongs to the farmer family. We are farmers of ourselves. We have friends and families who are farmers.”

Over 100 vehicles gathered together on Saturday to hold a carry rally in support of Indian farmers. It was one of many rallies that have been held in Halifax and across Canada, as the dispute in India escalates.

“We want people to be aware, and raise their voice, and then (be) aware of what (the) government is trying to do in India,” said Ravinder Sidhu, a demonstrator at Saturday’s rally.

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A similar rally was held outside Victoria Park on Wednesday and Thursday, where demonstrators said the laws are having dire impacts on small farming.

“It was a peaceful protest… but government played cheat tactics; they used water canons, tear gas, put barricades,” a demonstrator, Mankaran Singh, said Thursday.

Saturday’s rally began outside Pier 21, then made its way to Dartmouth across the Macdonald Bridge, eventually ending along the Bedford Highway.

A demonstrator holds up a photo of one of the protests that turned violent in India during a car rally in Halifax on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. Graeme Benjamin/Global News

They say similar rallies will be held in the days to come, to let Indian farmers know they have their continued support.

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READ MORE: Reaction from local South Asian community after farmers protest in India

The two sides are set to meet for further discussions this week in India.

With files from Karla Renic. 

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