Graphic posted to instagram.com/kisaansleepout.

Graphic posted to instagram.com/kisaansleepout.

‘Kisaan’ sleepout at Surrey park to ‘simulate conditions of farmers protesting in India’

‘Peaceful demonstration’ planned Saturday, July 17

Tents will fill a grassy area of Surrey’s Holland Park this Saturday night (July 17) during a “Kisaan” sleepout in support of Indian farmers.

Organizers of the overnight protest expect close to 150 people to attend, based on the response to an event post on eventbrite.ca and also Instagram (@kisaansleepout).

The “Kisaan” (farmer) sleepout is billed as a “peaceful demonstration that is happening overnight to simulate the conditions of the farmers protesting in India.”

Co-founders Jennifer M. and Nav Kaur have staged similar events in Vancouver, London, Birmingham and New York since February, in response to controversial farm bills passed by the Indian government last September. Ever since, “No Farmers, No Food” has been a rallying cry at protests held in cities around the world, including Surrey.

• READ MORE: ‘It won’t end’: Protesters march for Indian farmers at another Surrey rally, with more to come.

The most recent sleepout was held outside Vancouver Art Gallery during the late-June heatwave.

“Now we want to do one in Surrey,” said Jennifer M., who is reluctant to give her last name due to online threats and abuse triggered by her work to organize the Kisaan sleepouts.

Jennifer said she and Nav are both born and raised in Surrey.

“We wish to exemplify how imperative it is to Canadian citizens that Canada advocates for intervention and puts an end to the life-threatening human rights violations happening in a fellow democratic country,” the pair say in a news release. “As young female WoC (women of colour) activists who are representing our diaspora, it is imperative to us that our voices are heard and our concerns are addressed by our community.”

The post on eventbrite.ca notes free registration for the Holland Park sleepout, which gets going at 7 p.m. Saturday with dinner and speeches and is scheduled to end at 6 a.m. Sunday.

“Kisaan Sleep Out also recognizes the risks of protesting amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and implements safety measures for all participants, including social distancing, hand hygiene, and regulated PPE use,” the post says.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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