Tens of thousands of Indian farmers protested against agricultural reform today (January 26) broke barriers to enter the historic Red Fort complex in New Delhi and fly flags.
|Tens of thousands of Indian farmers drove the plows to the protest capital. Photo: Reuters|
Farmers, outraged by the laws they say help only big buyers, private producers, have been camping outside New Delhi for almost two months. They pose one of the biggest challenges facing Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he took power in 2014.
A Reuters witness saw at least five police and three protesters wounded in the Red Fort, where Modi gives his annual speech.
The Indian government has ordered internet service blocking in some areas of the city to prevent the unrest from worsening, mobile carrier Vodafone Idea said.
Tens of thousands of farmers with beards and turban, in spite of the cold of winter, drove the plows away in a convoy.
However, hundreds of people quickly pulled away from the approved route, entering the city center where the government was holding the January 26 Republic Day parade.
From the north of the city, the protesters moved toward the central government buildings. They removed the crane and used ropes to break the barrier, forcing riot police to give way, Reuters witnesses said.
A second group drove the tractor to important central intersections, pulling down barriers after colliding with police.
New Delhi police issued a notice saying that those who had separated from the intended route were violent and destructive. “They cause great damage to public property and injure many police.”
More than half of India’s 1.3 billion people are agricultural and unstable among the 150 million farmers who own land worries the government.
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