Indian farmers began gathering on Saturday (March 6) to block a six-lane expressway outside New Delhi to mark the 100th day of protests against deregulation of agriculture markets, to add pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
Farmers young and old headed in cars, trucks and tractors to the highway for a five-hour roadblock to oppose three farm laws enacted in September 2020 they say hurt them by opening up the agriculture sector to private players.
Modi has called the laws much-needed reforms for the country’s vast and antiquated agriculture sector, and painted the protests as politically motivated.
Tens of thousands of farmers from several north Indian states have been camped out on the outskirts of the capital in bitter cold since December demanding that the laws be repealed.
Their movement has gained international attention and support, including from celebrities such as climate activist Greta Thunberg and U.S. singer Rihanna, but several rounds of negotiations between farmer leaders and the government have failed.
Modi’s government has lashed out at supporters of the protests and stands accused by rights activists of using heavy-handed tactics to curb the protests.