Sat 06 February 2021:
The UN Human Rights office urged demonstrators and the government Friday to “exercise maximum restraint” during farmers’ protest in India as police complained of tweets by Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg.
“The rights to peaceful assembly and expression should be protected both offline and online,” the office tweeted regarding the issue that has turned street protests into a Twitter war. “It’s crucial to find equitable solutions with due respect to human rights for all.”
#India: We call on the authorities and protesters to exercise maximum restraint in ongoing #FarmersProtests. The rights to peaceful assembly & expression should be protected both offline & online. It’s crucial to find equitable solutions with due respect to #HumanRights for all.
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) February 5, 2021
Thunberg tweeted support for the protests, which led police Thursday to complain about the Swedish climate campaigner, according to reports.
Thunberg said she still “supports their peaceful protest” after the new development.
“No amount of hate, threats, or violations of human rights will ever change that,” she wrote.
50,000 Personnel, Water Cannons
Around 50,000 police, paramilitary, and reserve forces personnel have been deployed overall in the Delhi-NCR region while at least 12 metro stations have been put on alert, the police have said. Entry into eight such stations has been blocked.
“The arrangements have been strengthened since January 26…Drones have been arranged for an aerial view, CCTV cameras have been installed in sensitive areas,” Alok Kumar, Joint Commissioner of police, told ANI.
The police, on high alert, will be monitoring social media to track rumours and act against those sparking or spreading them. “We are in touch with the police forces of other states also,” Delhi police spokesperson Chinmoy Biswal has said. Internet services have already been shut down in the three key protest areas.
The national capital has fortified itself for a protest that it may not officially witness today. Ten days after unprecedented violence during a farmers’ tractor rally marred India’s Republic Day celebrations in parts of Delhi, the protesters are set to observe a three-hour chakka jam (road block) across the country, except in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and in the city. Authorities, however, are taking no chances.
The block, called by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) demanding the withdrawal of three contentious Central farm laws, will come into effect at noon today and will be observed along major national and state highways across the country.
Extra security has been deployed and barricades strengthened, which may potentially lead to traffic congestion on many key Delhi roads.
The government cut off the internet at protest sites, installed iron nails and put barbed wire to barricade protesting areas.
Earlier, the government issued a disproportionate response to a tweet from popstar Rihanna supporting massive protests against the new laws.
Rihanna, who has more than 101 million Twitter followers, while sharing a news article by the CNN network about the protests, late Tuesday wrote: “Why aren’t we talking about this?!”
Soon after her tweet, Thunberg, Meena Harris, niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris and other international celebrities extended support to the ongoing protests.
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