Thousands of vehicles took part in a car rally, that started in Cloverdale on Saturday, in support of farmers in India.
That’s in addition to an earlier rally that started in Strawberry Hill on Wednesday. Both rallies continued on to the Indian consulate in Vancouver.
Moninder Singh, the spokesperson for the B.C. Gurdwaras Council, said there were three bills put forward in India’s central government back in September that would affect “small-time farmers” in India.
“What it essentially does is it takes away something called the MSP, which is the minimum support price that farmers rely on. So depending on how the economy’s going… they have a minimum support price they can rely on that the government will buy their produce and their product at. Once that’s stripped away, they’re left to a free market,” explained Singh.
“In that part of the world, a free market is essentially a death sentence for most of these small-time farmers.”
He added it leaves the farmers “at the power of the larger corporations” who can, with no minimum support price, “lower the prices which they buy at.”
“Small-time farmers would be stuck. They would lose their livelihood, their farms. Become basically destitute and have to sell their land off to the very corporations that are able to lower prices on them.”
Farmers in India have since converged on the country’s capital, New Dehli.
Singh said those protests have grown from “a few hundred, to a few thousand to tens of thousands.”
“The protest in India is escalating, so the response and the support in the west and in the diaspora communities is escalating,” he said.
“Everyone understands from our community perspective is that this is a life-and-death situation for these farmers. When we say ‘these farmers,’ this is our cousin, in some cases, our mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters that are there.”
The car rally will start at the Cloverdale Recreation Centre, with drivers heading north on 176th Street to Highway 1. From there, they’ll go over the Port Mann Bridge to Exit 27 for 1st Avenue in Vancouver.
It starts at 11 a.m.
The rally is “in solidarity and support with the farmers.”
In a release Friday (Dec. 4), Surrey RCMP warned the public of “probable traffic congestion” in the Cloverdale area.
It said that it’s “anticipated” more than 1,000 vehicles “will converge on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds”
A post about the rally on Our Avaaz’s website reminds participants that COVID-19 restrictions are in effect.
“Please STAY in your vehicles AT ALL TIMES. If you have to get out please wear a FACE COVERING & follow social distancing guidelines. Stay healthy.”
There was another rally earlier in the week (Dec. 2) that started at the Cineplex parking lot in Strawberry Hill and ended at the Indian consulate in Vancouver.
Meantime, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has offered support for the Indian farmers earlier this week.
READ ALSO: Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests, Dec. 4, 2020