World Rihanna, Greta Thunberg anger India by backing protesting farmers
Heavy security, roads closed after Delhi farmer riots
Indian police imposed heavy security and closed several main roads around New Delhi on Wednesday a day after farmers went on the rampage the capital, leaving one person dead and dozens injured. The violence marked a dramatic escalation in a standoff between the government and thousands of farmers camped out on the outskirts of the city since late November. The farmers, mostly from northern Indian states including Punjab, want new agricultural reforms scrapped that they fear will leave them at the mercy of big corporations.
Pop superstar Rihanna and climate activist Greta Thunberg drew the ire of the Indian government Wednesday after they tweeted in support of the massive farmers' protest against new agriculture laws.
Tens of thousands of farmers have been camped on the outskirts of India's capital New Delhi since November, calling for a repeal of laws they fear will allow large corporations to crush them.
Rihanna, who has more than 100 million followers on Twitter, wrote "why aren't we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest", with a link to a news story about a government crackdown that included an internet blackout.
India’s Haryana state blocks internet amid farmer protest clashes
Supporters of India’s governing BJP accused of attacking farmers who are protesting against new laws.Mobile internet in 15 of 22 districts in Haryana state bordering the capital New Delhi will be unavailable until 17:00 local time on Saturday, according to a circular from the state government.
Her comment was retweeted more than 230,000 times and liked by over half a million users.
She was not alone -- Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, one of the world's most prominent environmental campaigners, also tweeted a story about the internet blackout, saying: "We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India."
There was also support from the niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris, whose mother was born in India.
"We ALL should be outraged by India's internet shutdowns and paramilitary violence against farmer protesters," tweeted Meena Harris.
Navalny, WHO and Thunberg among nominees for Nobel Peace Prize
Navalny, WHO and Thunberg among nominees for Nobel Peace PrizeOSLO (Reuters) - Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, the World Health Organization and climate campaigner Greta Thunberg are among those nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, all backed by Norwegian lawmakers who have a track record of picking the winner.
The international celebrity tweets triggered an online storm in India, where the farmers' protests have become one of the biggest challenges to Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he took power in 2014.
India's government has bristled at international remarks on the protests, calling them an "internal matter".
The foreign ministry said Wednesday that the celebrities needed "a proper understanding of the issues".
"The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible," it said in a statement, with the hashtags #IndiaTogether and #IndiaAgainstPropaganda.
Members of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its supporters regularly brand their critics traitors, propagandists and "anti-nationals".
Some Indians tweeted in support of Rihanna, but others were not pleased, with her remarks getting abusive replies.
Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut, a vocal Modi supporter, responded by calling the protesting farmers "terrorists" and Rihanna a "fool".
Modi has said the laws are necessary to modernise India's agriculture sector, but farmers fear they would be placed at the mercy of big corporations.
Twitter temporarily blocked scores of accounts tweeting about the protests on Monday at the demand of the Indian government, while police have detained dozens of farmers and a journalist.
India -- the world's biggest democracy -- regularly uses internet shutdowns to limit information sharing during disturbances.
The Indian government and its supporters are attacking Western celebrities for supporting the farmers' protests .
India's government has slammed Western celebrities for backing the farmers protesting in New Delhi. Farmers say the government's proposed reforms to agricultural laws will leave them poorer. Pro-government crowds burned photos of Rihanna and Greta Thunberg on Thursday. Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories. The Indian government has launched an attack on Western celebrities, with some supporters burning their photos, for publicly supporting mass protests by farmers.