Protesters take to Kelowna roads in support of Indian farmers

The demonstration took over the centre lane of Harvey Avenue as protesters headed to Prospera Place. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)The demonstration took over the centre lane of Harvey Avenue as protesters headed to Prospera Place. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
The demonstration took over the centre lane of Harvey Avenue as protesters headed to Prospera Place. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)The demonstration took over the centre lane of Harvey Avenue as protesters headed to Prospera Place. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Protesters gathered at Prospera Place in Kelowna on Sunday, Dec. 6, in opposition to what they called anti-farmers bills in India. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)Protesters gathered at Prospera Place in Kelowna on Sunday, Dec. 6, in opposition to what they called anti-farmers bills in India. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Protesters gathered at Prospera Place in Kelowna on Sunday, Dec. 6, in opposition to what they called anti-farmers bills in India. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)Protesters gathered at Prospera Place in Kelowna on Sunday, Dec. 6, in opposition to what they called anti-farmers bills in India. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Protesters gathered at Prospera Place in Kelowna on Sunday, Dec. 6, in opposition to what they called anti-farmers bills in India. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)Protesters gathered at Prospera Place in Kelowna on Sunday, Dec. 6, in opposition to what they called anti-farmers bills in India. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Protest organizer Harpreet Marwaha. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)Protest organizer Harpreet Marwaha. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Protesters gathered at Prospera Place in Kelowna on Sunday, Dec. 6, in opposition to what they called anti-farmers bills in India. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)Protesters gathered at Prospera Place in Kelowna on Sunday, Dec. 6, in opposition to what they called anti-farmers bills in India. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Members of the Okanagan Valley’s Punjabi community gathered at Prospera Place in Kelowna Sunday afternoon (Dec. 6) in support of Indian farmers.

The demonstration took to the road, with a kilometres-long line of sign-donning, honking vehicles taking over the centre lane of Highway 97 as they made their way to Prospera Place. The protest — comprised of several local farmers of Indian heritage — is one of many that have taken place across Canada in recent weeks against several new agricultural laws imposed in September by the Indian government.

Those laws, in part, allow farmers to sell products directly to private buyers, rather than middlemen adhering to the state-controlled minimum support price (MSP), which since 2009 has safeguarded farmers’ profits. While Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated the laws will allow farmers to earn more money by opening new streams of revenue, farmers have expressed fears that private buyers won’t adhere to government-set minimum prices.

The new bills, protesters said, upend decades of business practices for Indian farmers, putting their livelihoods at risk.

“If we do not bring attention to what’s happening in India right now, it’s going to end in bloodshed,” said protester Amarjit Singh Lalli. “All three [bills] favour corporations … they will wipe out the small farmers in India.”

In India, the farmers’ protests near the country’s capital city, Delhi, have been met with tear gas and water cannons. This prompted what Indian officials called interference in its affairs by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said Canada would always support the right of farmers to be heard.

“Canada will always stand up for the right of peaceful protest anywhere around the world. And we’re pleased to see moves towards de-escalation and dialogue,” Trudeau said Friday when asked about India’s criticism of his remarks.

READ MORE: Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The protesters in Canada stated their Indian counterparts — largely from the state of Punjab — are not being allowed their right to peaceful protest, and as such, the demonstrations have made their way across the globe.

“It’s been more than two months … the Indian government is not listening to them,” said protest organizer Harpreet Marwaha. “If that bill is applied … I don’t think they will be able to survive.”

Organizers estimated that roughly 300 people took part in the protest, with all adhering to COVID-19 precautions they had set out.

The Kelowna protest followed a similar one held in Penticton on Saturday.

With files from the Canadian Press

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CanadaIndiaprotest

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Overhead lights have been installed at the Oliver skatepark so kids can enjoy the park longer during winter hours. (Argon photo)
Community lights up Oliver skatepark, calling it a ‘game changer’ for youth

Both the dog park and Small Wheels Skatepark have lighting now

Forty-seven vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

Chelsea Ishizuka was borned and raised in Penticton but has now moved to Japan. When she found out there was a popular restaurant there named after Penticton, she had to go check it out. Here she is with the owner (right). (Facebook)
Popular restaurant in Japan named after city of Penticton

A Pentictonite now living in Tokyo discovered the eatery and the history behind its name

There is no true picture of how many youth in Penticton are experiencing housing instability or true homelessness. The Foundry and the city of Penticton are trying to find that out.
How many youth are experiencing homelessness in Penticton?

Foundry Penticton and the City have partnered on a youth survey open until March 13

(File photo)
COLUMN: How to help your young reluctant reader

Library has resources to help children

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
One of two Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreaks declared over

One outbreak declared over after two deaths, seven cases; another outbreak remains ongoing in the hospital

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna care home after 12 cases noted

Two staff members and 10 residents at Cottonwoods Care Centre have tested positive for COVID-19

Coldstream’s Kalamalka Secondary has teamed up with Globox on a fundraising raffle for its graduating class of 2021. (Photo supplied)
Okanagan secondary school grads glowing over fundraiser

Kalamalka Secondary teams with company on fundraising raffle, replacing annual apple pie fundraiser

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Isaac Gilbert is running for council in the by-election for Jake Kimberley’s vacated seat. (Submitted)
First candidate for Penticton council by-election makes himself known

Isaac Gilbert is making a second run at council after receiving 19.63 per cent of the vote in 2018

Most Read