London: Thousands of people protested and blocked traffic in central London on Sunday over Indian agricultural reforms that have triggered mass demonstrations in India, and police made 13 arrests over breaches of COVID regulations.
A group of demonstrators gathered at the Indian Embassy, which is located in Aldwych, the main artery in the middle of the British capital, and the procession marched near the Trafalgar Square area.
Tens of thousands of farmers have protested in India against three laws the government says are meant to overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and give growers more options to sell their produce.
Farmers fear the legislation, passed in September, will eventually dismantle India’s regulated markets and stop the government from buying wheat and rice at guaranteed prices, leaving them at the mercy of private buyers.
Britain is the hometown of a large number of Indian diasporas, and many British people who trace their origins in India are closely related to the news of the country.
A Reuters on-site photographer said that during the protests in London, there were few signs of social distancing and very few participants wore masks.
The Metropolitan Police said it had arrested 13 people for breaching restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, and that four of those people were later released after being issued with fines.
Police also confiscated fireworks from teenagers who were seen setting them off towards a crowd. There were no reports of injuries, and traffic was flowing freely after the crowds dispersed.
“The capital remains in the midst of a pandemic. It is vital that we all play our part in the fight against COVID-19,” said police Commander Paul Brogden in a statement.