Counter-protesters in Delhi have burned effigies of the Swedish environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg after she tweeted support for India’s protesting farmers in posts that have prompted an investigation by Indian police.
Crowds gathered in Delhi to protest against several international celebrities including Thunberg and the pop singer Rihanna, who inflamed sentiments in India and angered the government after tweeting about the continuing farmer protests this week. Photos of Thunberg and Rihanna were set alight and banners were held aloft warning that “international interference” in Indian affairs would not be tolerated.
Since November, hundreds of thousands of farmers have been camped out around Delhi demanding several new agriculture laws are repealed. After a march last week turned violent, with hundreds storming the capital’s historic Red Fort, Delhi police had been cracking down on the farmers by sending in riot officers and paramilitary troops, cutting off entry and exit to the protest sites and blocking mobile internet access.
In response to reports that a case had been filed against Thunberg, Praveer Ranjan, the special commissioner of police for Delhi, said: “‘We haven’t named anybody in the FIR [first information report], it’s only against the creators of the toolkit which is a matter of investigation and Delhi police will be investigating that case.”
The Indian government released a statement in response sharply warning against celebrities tweeting “sensationalist social media hashtags and comments”.