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UNITED NATIONS, Dec 05 (APP):The United Nations (UN) said on Friday that the Indian farmers have the right to peaceful protest and that the authorities should allow them to demonstrate.

“People have a right to demonstrate peacefully, and authorities need to let them do so,” UN Secretary-General’s Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in response to a question about the growing demonstrations around New Delhi by farmers protesting against the new legislation sponsored by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that they said would curb their earnings and benefit big corporations.

According to media reports, tens of thousands of Indian farmers have been camped for over a week on highways leading into New Delhi, demanding the rollback of new laws that will change the way they have sold crops for decades at government-regulated agricultural markets, to pave the way for free market trade.

After being refused permission to hold their protest in the heart of the capital, farmers have parked their tractors and trucks stacked with food rations, mattresses and blankets behind heavily barricaded highways guarded by police. They are spending the cold winter nights inside their trucks or in the open – fully prepared for a prolonged standoff with the government.

In New York, hundreds of American-Sikhs staged a protest demonstration near the Indian consulate on Tuesday.  Meanwhile, the General Counsel of the United States -based Sikhs for Justice (SfJ), Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, said in a statement that the New York rally was the start of a series of pro-farmer and pro-independence rallies outside Indian missions across North America and Europe.

The group has already announced one million US dollars in aid for Punjabi farmers who suffered injuries or damage to their vehicles in clashes with police as they marched into New Delhi to protest against new farm laws.

SfJ said it would open 24 -hour call centers in the United States , Canada, UK, France and Germany to take online applications from farmers of Punjab and Haryana to reimburse them for their losses and also to register votes for the “Khalistan Referendum” that it would plan to hold in August.