Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Protesting farmers battle police after storming New Delhi

Protesting farmers battle police after storming New Delhi

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Activists and farmers take part in a protest in Bangalore as they continue to demonstrate against the central government’s recent agricultural reforms on Tuesday. AFP

Protesting farmers battle police after storming New Delhi

Thousands of Indian farmers battled police across New Delhi on January 26 as they took protests against agriculture reform into the capital during a giant Republic Day military parade.

Police laid on one of their biggest security operations in years in a bid to keep protesters away from Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he oversaw a parade full of pomp.

Police manned barricades at intersections around the centre of the city, while soldiers with machine guns patrolled metro trains.

But after barging through barricades on the city’s main arteries, convoys of farmers on tractors sped wildly around city roads, forcing police and bystanders to leap for safety.

At the 400-year-old Red Fort, protesters raised the emblem of their movement on flagpole where India’s tricolour normally flies.

Hundreds also gathered outside the Delhi police headquarters and fought with officers.

Across the city, security forces fired tear gas and staged baton charges, but the protesters laid into police with their own weapons – and hijacked buses that had been used to block their convoys.

Two months of protests against agricultural laws that deregulated produce markets have turned into the biggest challenge faced by Modi’s Hindu nationalist government since it came to power six years ago.

The government had opposed the rally saying it would be a “national embarrassment” at a time when it should be celebrating Republic Day.

Barricades breached

Police, however, said they would allow the demonstration if farmers waited until after the military parade, and kept to a route away from central Delhi.

But barricades were breached while Modi and other ministers were watching tanks and troops pass along the Rajpath boulevard as newly acquired Rafale fighter jets flew overhead.

Some protesters reached a major intersection just 3km from the parade.

Modi was driven back to his residence barely 30 minutes before the farmers took over the city centre.

Tens of thousands of farmers have camped on the outskirts of the capital since November, protesting against the new laws which the government says will boost rural incomes.

Union leaders say they will allow private Indian conglomerates to take over the agriculture industry – the rockbed of the economy – and end guaranteed prices for most of their produce.

Popular support

Farmers’ leaders say they have enough supplies to keep their protest camps going for at least a year.

The leaders blamed the authorities for the violence saying police had provoked the farmers.

Union leader Kawalpreet Singh Pannu said: “When you attack a peaceful protest, then difficulties for the government will surely increase.”


  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Preah Sihanouk hit with travel ban

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration has announced a temporary travel ban to and from the province, except for ambulances and trucks transporting goods. The announcement came after prime minister Hun Sen called on people in the province to travel only if necessary, and that people not

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese