NJ Mayor: Respect the fundamental right to peaceful protest in a democracy

The Mayor of Hoboken, a New Jersey town, issued a statement in favor of the farmers protest at the borders of Delhi:

The Indian farmers protest is a personal issue to me, my family, and so many Indian Americans living in the United States. Farmers in India, many of them Sikhs, have been protesting for months now to protect their rights in what has been characterized as one of the largest mass protests in human history.

The farmers view certain laws impacting them to be unjust and are seeking a repeal of those laws. In so doing, the large majority are engaging in diplomacy, negotiation, and peaceful protest to advocate for their rights.Sadly, the Indian government has taken drastic measures to combat these peaceful protests.

They have effectuated the shut down of social media accounts of activists, arrested certain journalists covering the matter, and perpetrated violence against protesters and physicians, including one from New Jersey, attempting to provide medical attention to both the protestors as well as Indian police officers.

To the credit of the Indian farmers, they have taken to the streets and advocated for their rights in a largely non-violent and peaceful manner, consistent with democratic principles of free speech and assembly.

As the world’s largest democracy, India can and must uphold the human and civil rights of these protestors. I join elected officials and activists from across the United States in calling on Prime Minister Modi’s administration to respect the fundamental right to peaceful protest in a democracy.