Several Arrested Amid London Protest Supporting Indian Farmers
Thousands of people gathered outside the Indian High Commission in Aldwych to express their solidarity with farmers.
Scotland Yard made several arrests during a demonstration to support the ongoing farmers protests in and around New Delhi on Sunday, 6 December, in London, PTI reported. Thousands of people, from different parts of the UK, were gathered outside the Indian High Commission in Aldwych to express their solidarity with the farmers agitating against the Modi government’s new agriculture laws.
The protest saw a majority of British Sikhs blocking roads, sloganeering and waving placards with messages akin to “Justice to Farmers” on them, The Indian Express reported.
The Metropolitan Police arrested 13 protestors after issuing a warning that stringent regulations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus were in place, and gatherings of more than 30 people would warrant detention and fines.
They informed that 13 people were arrested for violating the COVID-19 regulations. While nine remain in custody, four were let go with a fine after they provided the police with their details.
Met Police Commander Paul Brogden said, “We had issued a reminder urging those who were planning to attend to reconsider but, unfortunately, a number of people decided not to follow that advice.”
He further explained, “if you attend a gathering that breaches the regulations, you may be committing an offence, which is punishable by a fine. In certain circumstances, if you hold a gathering of over 30 persons and you do not meet the requirements of the regulations you might be committing a different offence, which is also punishable by a fine.”
Three teenagers were seen setting off fireworks towards the crowd, and subsequently had their fireworks confiscated by the police.
Brogden also urged people joining the demonstration at Aldwych to reconsider, stressing that his officers “will take appropriate action where necessary.”
The Indian High Commission spokesperson said, “Our High Commission has been coordinating closely with the authorities concerned and we will, together with them, address the issues that have come up – for example how this gathering of thousands could take place without specific permission.”
The spokesperson also went on to claim that the London protests were led by “anti-India” separatists, “who had taken the opportunity of the protests in India to ostensibly back the farmers in India but use the opportunity to pursue their own anti-India agenda.”
Reiterating the Indian government’s stance, the IHC spokesperson added that the Government of India was in talks with the protesters, and “needless to say, it is an internal issue of India.”
Farmers across north India are protesting the new agricultural reforms introduced in September. Even after several rounds of talk with the government, the farmers and the Centre have not come to a conclusive decision.
(with inputs from The Indian Express and NDTV)
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