Thunberg: ‘Hate, threats’ will not deter support for farmer protests in India

Greg Nash

Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg on Thursday responded to opponents of her support for protesting farmers in India by pledging to keep pressure on the Indian government.

Thunberg said “no amount of hate, threats or violations of human rights” will stop her support for the movement.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have been gathering in the Indian capital of New Delhi and surrounding areas to protest new agricultural laws on pricing and storage of produce that farmers say leave them open to exploitation by large corporations.

Thunberg has joined other prominent figures such as singer Rihanna, Vice President Harris’s niece Meena Harris and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in voicing support for the protesters.

That support has sparked a backlash from Indian government officials and counterprotesters. The Guardian reported that counterprotesters in India burned effigies of Thunberg, Rihanna and other celebrities in response to their social media posts.

On Thursday, Thunberg responded to the criticism, tweeting, “I still #StandWithFarmers and support their peaceful protest.”

The Indian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday condemned “vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them.”

Police in New Delhi announced Thursday that they had opened an investigation into the creators of an online toolkit that Thunberg shared on Twitter that states is meant to “enable anyone unfamiliar with the ongoing farmers protests in India to better understand the situation and make decisions on how to support the farmers based on their own analysis.” 

Some Bollywood celebrities and national athletes have criticized the involvement of prominent figures outside India, with cricket star Sachin Tendulkar tweeting Wednesday, “India’s sovereignty cannot be compromised.”

“External forces can be spectators but not participants,” he added. “Indians know India and should decide for India. Let’s remain united as a nation.”

Tags activists anti-government protests Climate change Greta Thunberg Ilhan Omar India Meena Harris New Delhi Social media The Guardian Twitter
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