Members of the Sikh community in Port Alberni showed their support for farmers in India with a car parade last weekend.
A group of approximately 45 cars departed from the Guru Nanak Sikh Society on Eighth Avenue on Sunday, Feb. 21. Adorned with flags and signs, the cars drove around Port Alberni to draw attention to the global protests that have been taking place since late 2020.
The protests oppose three farm acts that were passed by the Parliament of India in September. Farmers say these new laws will favour large corporate farms and devastate the earnings of smaller scale farmers.
Although the protests began in India, they have spilled into Canada and on Vancouver Island. Organizers in Port Alberni said on Sunday that they want to show solidarity with their family members who still live in India.
Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns, who also attended the protest on Sunday, said that it is important for people in Canada to stand in solidarity, defending Indian farmers and standing up against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Modi sees Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a friend,” Johns said. “When human rights violations happen and your friend is committing them, you stand up to your friend. Clearly in the Alberni Valley, human rights is a priority,” he added, gesturing to the cars gathered at the Guru Nanak Sikh Society.
Participants stayed inside their vehicles on Sunday to follow COVID-19 restrictions against gathering. Organizers, wearing masks, spoke from a loudspeaker so they could be heard by everyone.