If you were anywhere in Mission today, you probably saw the brigade of tractors.
Protesters standing (or driving) in solidarity with the farmers of India cruised through the community’s streets, culminating in a gathering at municipal hall at 1:30 p.m.
“We’re here supporting our brothers and sisters back home in India,” said Ishwinder Singh, an organizer of the ‘Basmodi Wave.’ “Canada always stands for human rights. India has so many human rights violations and we don’t see Canada being on the front lines.”
It’s one of 11 scheduled protests planned over March and April to show solidarity with those protesting peacefully in India.
Dozens of tractors and vehicles fixed with green and orange flags took part, driving in a single file column with a police escort.
Over 200 shoes were placed at the steps of municipal hall, one for every Indian protester killed in their struggle against the Narendra Modi government.
The farmers are protesting three bills passed by the parliament of India in September 2020. The bills have been described as “anti-farmer laws” by many farmer unions.
Singh said the bills would effectively allow a corporate takeover of farming in the country. They are demanding a minimum-support price, which would prevent the corporations from driving food prices down.
“The average farmer in India is not very wealthy, so it will impact them badly,” Singh said. “Want the municipality to pass a motion of support.”
Acting Mayor Ken Herar, Coun. Jag Gill and Mission MP Brad Vis were present at municipal hall and gave speeches.
Gill said he would love to see council endorse a motion of support, while Vis said he’s tabled multiple petitions in Parliament on the sbuject.
“Especially for me, my parents immigrated to this country and come from a farming background,” Gill said. “I support the ‘No Farmers, No Food’ demonstrations that are happening all over the world.”
The protests are going from city to city gathering support.
It started on March 6 in Burnaby, followed by Abbotsford on March 7, Surrey on March 13, and Mission today.
Surrey will have another protest on March 23, followed by Delta on March 27, Vancouver on March 28, West Vancouver on April 3, Aldergrove on April 10, Vancouver again on April 17, and concluding in Surrey on April 24.
– with files from Ben Lypka