Thousands of farmers cut off highways to protest new laws

New Delhi, Feb 6 (efe-epa).- Thousands of farmers cut off some of India’s main highways on Saturday to protest against new agricultural laws.

The protesters allege the new laws will benefit big businesses and leave agricultural workers at their mercy.

The government says that the reforms will help farmers and make the sector more efficient and competitive.

The demonstrations which have taken place for months have been largely peaceful, but turned violent on Jan. 26, when the protesters drove their tractors into the capital to hold a parallel Republic Day march in Delhi.

Clashes between the security forces and the demonstrators, who broke down the barricades with their tractors, left one farmer dead and almost 400 policemen injured.

Saturday’s protest, called under the slogan “Chakka Jam” (Road Blockade), began around noon and lasted for three hours on roads across most of the country, with farmers staging sit-ins or using tractors to cut off traffic.

Local televisions showed images of roadblocks in various parts of the country, from the states of Punjab or Haryana in the north, and Kashmir, in the northwest, to western Maharashtra or southern Karnataka. EFE-EPA


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