‘It’s an environment of hope’ -- Thousands protest in Detroit in support of Indian farmers

Metro Detroiters join peaceful protests around the world

More than 1,000 Metro Detroiters participated in a car rally held in solidarity with farmers in India.

DETROIT – More than 1,000 Indian-American across Metro Detroit held a car rally Sunday in support of Indian farmers.

Through the frigid cold and snowing conditions, protesters drove from Comerica Park to Belle Isle.

The image of an elderly Sikh man being beaten by an Indian paramilitary officer has galvanized more support than any other. The protest in Detroit joined protests happening all around the world with residents fighting to protect their way of life on the other side of the world.

Global pressure is mounting after reports of human rights violations against peaceful protestors in India.

“They put barricades, water cannons, thrown tear gas to prevent them from protesting peacefully,” said Harpreet Cheema.

“We are also representing Muslims,” said Masood Rab. “This is not issue of one minority but all minorities.”

Demonstrators believe new bills enacted by the Indian government will push millions of farmers below the poverty line.

“By doing these kind of protests all around the world, we’re trying to say the government needs to repeal laws,” Andy Sandhu said. “That’s what common people want.”

“The way of life for so many families -- including mine -- is farming,” said Manvir Sandhu. “If farmers can’t make money, they can’t survive.”

More than 1,000 Indian-Americans joined in a car rally through the streets of Downtown Detroit.

“This is amazing,” Andy Sandhu said of the rally. “This shows democracy.”

“It’s an environment of hope,” Manvir Sandhu said. “Not defeat.”

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About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.