New Delhi: Tens of thousands of protesting farmers drove long lines of tractors into India’s capital on Tuesday, breaking through police barricades, defying tear gas and storming the historic Red Fort as the nation celebrated Republic Day.
They waved union and religious flags from the walls of the fortress, where prime ministers raised their flags every year to commemorate the country’s independence.
While shouting slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Narendra Modi), thousands of farmers walked or rode on horseback. In some places, residents used unprecedented gatherings on their mobile phones to record petals full of petals.
Police said a protester died after his tractor overturned, but the farmer said he was shot. The protesters hung his body on the Indian flag and surrounded it and placed it on the road. The TV channel showed several bloody protesters.
Farmer leaders said that more than 10,000 tractors participated in the protest.
For nearly two months, farmers — many of them Sikhs from Punjab and Haryana states — have camped at the edge of the capital, blockading highways connecting it with the country’s north in a rebellion that has rattled the government. They are demanding the withdrawal of new laws which they say will commercialize agriculture and devastate farmers’ earnings.
“We want to show Modi our strength,” said Satpal Singh, a farmer who drove into the capital on a tractor along with his family of five. “We will not surrender.”
Riot police fired tear gas and water cannons at numerous places to push back the rows upon rows of tractors, which shoved aside concrete and steel barricades. Authorities blocked roads with large trucks and buses in an attempt to stop the farmers from reaching the center of the capital. Thousands, however, managed to reach some important landmarks. “We will do as we want to. You cannot force your laws on the poor,” said Manjeet Singh, a protesting farmer.