Thursday, February 24, 2011
INDIA REVOLT - Thousands protest against high food prices in Delhi
At least 100,000 trade unionists marched through the Indian capital Wednesday in a protest against high food prices and unemployment, piling pressure on an administration under fire over corruption scandals.
The demonstration was the biggest in New Delhi in years and included members of a trade union linked to the ruling Congress party, reflecting disquiet within the party over food inflation which hit a high of over 18 percent last December.
It was also the latest in a wave of protests that have swept the world, ignited by a worldwide spike in food prices. But unlike the protests that have toppled autocratic leaders, there have been no calls to overthrow India's democratic government.
"We have come here so that our voices reverberate inside the house (parliament) and they can see what pain the common man is going through," said Akhil Samantray who had come from the eastern Orissa state to take part in the march.
India, Asia's third-largest economy and home to more than a billion people, has been grappling with double-digit food inflation for much of last year. The country's hundreds of millions of poor have been hit the hardest.
The government has looked increasingly helpless as it tries to introduce policies to rein in food prices which have risen mainly on the back of soaring global prices which the government cannot control.
"Prices will kill the common man," read a banner carried by one of the protesters, one of many in a sea of red flags.
Continue reading - Reuters - Thousands march against India's embattled government