Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed solidarity with farmers protesting in India against the new agricultural reforms, acknowledging that the "situation is concerning".
Trudeau was speaking on the occasion of Gurupurab on Monday when he extended support to the farmers' struggle and weighed in on the nationwide unrest.
"I would be remiss if I didn't start by recognising the news coming from India about the protests by farmers. The situation is concerning and we're all very worried about family and friends. I know that's a reality for many of you. Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protest," he said at an online event to mark the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
Trudeau is the first international leader to comment on the burgeoning protests against the controversial farm laws.
"We believe in the importance of dialogue and that's why, we've reached out to multiple means, directly to the India authorities to highlight our concerns. This is a moment for all of us to pull together," the Canadian leader said.
The protest entered its sixth day on Tuesday as thousands of people from several states, including Punjab and Haryana, continue to hold peaceful sit-in demonstrations at the outskirts of Delhi. Their "Delhi Chalo" march was met with water cannons, tear gas, and police barricades by the Haryana Police on the Delhi-Haryana border. They were eventually allowed to pass through.
They are demanding that they be allowed to stage protests in the city against the new laws. Enacted in September, the laws are anticipated to bring "reforms" in the agriculture sector by removing the middlemen and allowing farmers to sell anywhere in the country. The farmers worry this will eliminate the safety cushion of a Minimum Support Price and scrap away mandis that ensure earning.
The centre is expected to hold talks with farmers today to find a solution.