gardiner expressway protest

Protesters in cars block traffic in downtown Toronto at rush hour

Editor's Note:

Thanks to everyone who reached out to us with their concerns about this article as it first appeared on the site. We acknowledge that the original article did not meet our standards. It has since been revised to better reflect what happened and the context behind the protests. We apologize for any offence or harm the original article may have caused.

Hundreds of personal vehicles took to the Gardiner Expressway in downtown Toronto on Tuesday afternoon, horns honking at full blast, to show their support for farmers in India.

Their reasons for protesting were valid (read: had nothing to do with the right to eat BBQ indoors during a lockdown): Hundreds of thousands of farmers are in New Delhi this week demonstrating against laws deemed exploitive and unfair to agricultural workers. 

Despite being entirely peaceful, these protests are in India being met with police batons, water cannons and tear gas, sounding the alarm among advocates worldwide.

That said, the link between this global human rights issue and the Toronto car convoy was not immediately clear to those observing from the sidelines along the Gardiner on Tuesday.

The convoy appears to have hit the city around 3 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.

Unable to immediately find information online related to the demonstration, they expressed confusion and concern on Twitter.

Cars, SUVs and pick-up trucks drove slowly along the eastbound Gardiner heading into rush hour on Tuesday.

Some vehicles also took offramps to continue the demonstration by blocking off traffic on downtown streets.

As the peaceful protest went on, some skybox sleuths noticed signs indicating that the protest was in support of farmers.

A large rally held afterwards at Nathan Phillip Square confirmed that the protest was indeed part of a larger movement supporting farmers in India.

Tens of thousands of farmers are currently blocking roads in New Delhi with their tractors, cars and bodies to protest new agricultural laws that they say make it easier for corporations to exploit farm workers.

Protesters in India say they intend to camp out for weeks in and around the capital to protest the new law, which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says "will give farmers more autonomy to set their own prices and sell directly to private businesses, such as supermarket chains."

Demonstrations against the controversial farming bills have been taking place intermittently in Brampton since September, but have recently peaked in terms of size and intensity.

"In September, three new federal farming bills were passed: The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce Act; Farmers Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Service Act; and the Essential Commodities Act," said Brampton city councillor Gurpreet Singh Dhillon in a letter addressing the situation on Wednesday.

"The new legislation will leave farmers at the mercy of large corporations because most farmers do not have the means to bargain with them for a fair price. This will ultimately destroy the livelihoods and sovereignty of farmers across India."

Lead photo by

Kyle Sipkens

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