For over two months, hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers have been conducting sustained sit-ins on the outskirts of New Delhi. Undeterred by COVID-19 or violent police crackdowns, and despite the cold northern Indian winter, the protesters are demanding the repeal of controversial new farm laws that they say harm their livelihoods.
The sit-ins have been largely peaceful, though tensions have risen in recent weeks. On Jan. 26, a group of farmers took to the streets on the occasion of India’s Republic Day holiday, clashing with security forces.* At least one protester died and hundreds more were injured, including more than 300 police officers.
The Indian government has also faced mounting international criticism for its heavy-handed response to the unrest. Police have detained hundreds of protesters; eight journalists were arrested while covering the protests and charged with criminal offenses that include sedition. Last week, authorities even moved to shut down the internet in areas around New Delhi.