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Indian riot police order farmers to vacate protest site

Indian riot police attempted to clear farmers from one of the farmer protest sites in Ghazipur by cutting off water and electricity supplies. 

The protesters defiantly refused to leave the site and were joined by thousands of protesters, forcing the police to back down. 

Ghazipur is one of the protest sites on the outskirts of Delhi, where Indian farmers have been demanding for the Indian government to repeal three agricultural laws. The laws are said to benefit private buyers over farmers, hurting the farmer's livelihoods. Tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting peacefully since November 2020 against the laws which were pushed through parliament with little debate by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government. 

This comes just days after farmers organised a tractor rally in the Indian capital as the country marked Republic Day. Some protesters deviated from the pre-approved routes and stormed the Red Fort, a Mughal-era citadel, and hoisted the Nishan Sahib flag. 

Delhi police responded to the protests by opening teargas and hitting the protesters with batons. In the ensuing violence, one protester is confirmed to have died. 

The farmer-protesters had obtained permission from the police to organise a rally by driving tractors through the streets of the capital as a mark of protest. Reports revealed that they had been allowed to undertake the rally on the condition that they start it only after the Republic Day demonstrations have ended and drive only through certain avenues that steered clear of national institutions. 

Following the clashes, the government cut off internet services in parts of Delhi and also closed down metrorail services near the focal point of the protest. 

Despite repeated rounds of negotiations between farmer representatives and the government a consensus has not yet been reached. The farmers have repeatedly vowed to continue their protests until the agricultural laws are repealed. 

Read more from The Guardian here and Al Jazeera here



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