A protest in support of Indian farmers slowed traffic on the Bay Bridge and filled streets on both sides of the Bay Saturday afternoon.
The California Kisaan Solidarity Car & Truck Rally #FarmerProtest, organized by the Jakara Movement, traveled in a car caravan across the Bay Bridge to call for support for Indian farmers who are on strike.
Organizers say an estimated 10,000 people in around 2,000 cars converged on the Bay Area from as far away as Yuba City and Los Angeles for the event, intended to call attention to an ongoing human rights crisis in Delhi, India. The caravan, made up largely of members of the Sikh American community, traveled to the Indian Consulate in San Francisco before finishing with a rally at Middle Harbor Shoreline park in Oakland.
Millions of farmers in India, many of them in the state of Punjab, have been protesting for more than a week against recent farming laws that remove a minimum price currently guaranteed by the government, and have been met with tear gas and water cannons by local authorities in some cases. The laws imperil the livelihood of the already struggling farmers, according to protesters, who held signs declaring “No Farmers, No Food.”
Similar protests have been held recently in solidarity with the farmers by Sikh communities in New York, Houston, Michigan, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Many of the 500,000 Sikhs who live in the United States trade their families back to the Punjab region of India.