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Abbotsford’s India farmers’ protests continuing for remainder of month

Organizers urge all attendees to follow COVID-19 protocols, MP Ed Fast echoes leaders thoughts
Abbotsford residents have been protesting what they is the mistreatment of farmers by the Indian government since Nov. 30. Organizers indicated the demonstrations will continue for the rest of the month. (Maan Sidhu photo)

Abbotsford demonstrations to support farmers in India will continue until at least the end of the month.

Organizers shared plans on social media for protests to continue daily from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on South Fraser Way and Clearbrook Road.

The group also urged all those attending to wear masks, practice social distancing and to avoid disturbing business in the area.

Local politicians have mostly remained silent on the matter, despite the requests of many Abbotsford residents looking for words of support.

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Abbotsford native Neetu Dhaliwal told The News that she reached out to Abbotsford MP Ed Fast and was unsatisfied with his response. Fast re-iterated a statement made by Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, who said he supports the UN Declaration of Human Rights and its protection of the right to peacefully protest.

Fast did not specifically say anything related to Abbotsford or the ongoing local protests, which Dhaliwal said is not acceptable for someone with such a long history in the community.

“He of all people knows this community and should know the hard work that the South Asian farming community has provided to help grow the city of Abbotsford,” she said. “I do not feel this is acceptable, since he is a known elected official of our community and I believe he should represent all of his constituents. His failure to speak at this time is a failure to stand up for the minority community in his riding that makes up a significant portion of the farming jobs.”

The News also reached out to Fast for comments on the matter, but his remarks were similar to what he told Dhaliwal.

“I echo Erin O’Toole’s unconditional support for Indian farmers’ right to protest peacefully regarding the issues that are important to them,” he said. “The UN Declaration of Human Rights makes it very clear that peaceful protest is a human right, and it is appropriate for our federal government to speak out in support of those rights wherever they see such rights being violated around the world.”

Demonstrations began locally on Nov. 30 and have continued daily since then.

RELATED: Abbotsford residents gather to protest unfair treatment of India farmers

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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