Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario: The Algoma Sikh Association today (on the occasion of Republic Day of India) conducted a rally in support of the farmers in India who have been protesting the newly passed agricultural reforms.
More than 100 people in approximately 50 cars including students from Algoma University Students’ Union gathered at the Canadian Khalsa Darbar, which is a Sikh temple in Sault Ste Marie.
The car rally commenced around 4.30 PM and went towards Cambrian Mall, all the way to downtown ending at City Hall. The rally was held post approval and consultation from the Algoma Public Health and Sault Ste Marie Police. Masks, sanitizer & face shields were provided to those who needed it.
Gurwinder Singh, President, Algoma Sikh Association said, “The biggest protest in human history is currently taking place on the streets of New Delhi, India. Although it may seem that this is far from home, the opposite is true. Many in the local Punjabi community have a direct connection with the movement in India & many of them have family who have spent the last 60 days in the harsh cold winter, sleeping in tractors hundreds of kilometers from their homes to stand up for their rights. Over 250 million peaceful protestors and hundreds of thousands of tractors have occupied Delhi in response to three detrimental law’s which favor large multinational corporations over farmers & will lead the exploitation of farmers and will transfer power of agriculture and their land from individuals to corporations. We are demonstrating in Sault Ste Marie in solidarity with farmers, in defense of democracy in the face of fascism and in support of the over 150 peaceful protestors who lost their lives while remaining steadfast in their fight for their rights.”
At the end of the rally, they parked the cars by the city hall and a handful of community members got out of their car to tear the 3 bills in solidarity with the farmers movement.
Millions of farmers and workers have been rebelling against the bill which is being called as the biggest strike in world history. The worldwide protests have been held across various locations of Canada as well as the UK, USA, Australia, Italy, France and many more places. More than 1.5 million Canadian workers have stood up in support of the farmers in India.
Punjab is the homeland of Sikhs as well as the breadbasket of India. The recent farmer bills passed by the Narendra Modi government are being titled as anti-national and the protestors feel that in the long run it will lower their income and give more power to corporations adding to the misery of farmers in India.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also stated that Canada will always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest, as he reached out to the Indian community, expressing his concerns over the protest going on, making him the first world leader to speak on the issue. He said the same while addressing the Indian community during an online event held last month on the birth anniversary of Sikh Guru Nanak Dev.
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NOTE: This story has been edited to remove “students from Sault College Student’s Union” as participants in this event, as requested by the Sault College Student’s Union.