She lit posters of the world’s best-known climate activist and forbade her interference in Indian domestic politics: During protests in Delhi, some of which were violent, the focus was on several international celebrities who had met in the days before per Social Media intervened in the dispute over India’s protesting peasants.
The advice of Greta Thunberg and Rihanna, formulated via tweets, even sparked an investigation by the Indian police.
The focus is on a so-called “toolkit” of the protest movement, a kind of guide to resistance that Thunberg is also said to have spread on the Internet. As the Guardian wants to know these are fairly general tips for political campaigning, such as choosing hashtags and advice on signing petitions.
Leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reacted thinly. They described the manual as “evidence” of the existence of “international plans to attack India”. The Guardian goes on to say that it will not be determined against Thunberg personally, but against the authors of the document.
The protesters angry about these events torched photos of Thunberg as well as pictures of the singer Rihanna, and they held up banners to warn that “international interference” in Indian affairs would not be tolerated.
Rihanna and Thunberg had previously shown solidarity with the protesting farmers in India several times. The farmers’ protests against the planned deregulation of the markets have been going on since November. The Modi government wants to encourage private investment in the agricultural sector, hoping for more economic growth.
The farmers, on the other hand, are afraid that large agricultural companies will gain ground and lose their livelihoods. reports, among others, the “Deutsche Welle”.
Tens of thousands of farmers have already settled in protest camps on the outskirts of the capital New Delhi.
Expression of solidarity from Thunberg
Rihanna, who has more than 100 million followers on Twitter, wrote: “Why don’t we talk about this?” – and linked this to a report on an internet blackout in some protest camps. The tweet was forwarded or endorsed by hundreds of thousands.
Thunberg also got involved in reports about the Internet blackout. She wrote, understand with a hashtag, that she was in solidarity with the protests of the farmers in India. Also critical said the niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris, Meena Harris.
The protests have long since become the greatest challenge for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he came to power in 2014. For more than two months now, farmers have been protesting against the agricultural laws in India, which they say will only increase poverty. Tens of thousands of farmers now live in the protest camps on the outskirts of the capital New Delhi.
The largely peaceful protests ended in violence on January 26th. At that time, some of the farmers stormed the Red Fort from the 17th century. Hundreds of police officers and dozens of farmers were injured. One protester was killed. Since then, the authorities have tightened security at protest locations in front of New Delhi. They put iron spikes and steel barricades there to prevent demonstrators from entering the capital.
Bollywood star support for modes
But there is also support for the head of government: Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut, who supports Modi, described the protesting farmers as “terrorists” and Rihanna as an “idiot”. Other entertainers from the Bollywood scene and sports stars also tweeted for the government. They used the hashtags #IndiaAgainstPropaganda (India against propaganda) and #IndiaTogether (India together). They also urged people from outside the country not to interfere in internal affairs.
Rihanna and Thunberg’s tweets also prompted almost every senior member of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party to respond. The Indian Minister of the Interior, Amit Shah, said, “No propaganda can stop India’s unity”.
Other Indian celebrities, but also ministries, even called for denouncing the foreigners who tried to divide the country. The Ministry of Agriculture in New Delhi, for example, accused the international stars on Wednesday of interfering in the planned structural reforms for Indian agriculture in a “sensation-seeking” way.
At the same time, there was a tug-of-war over the blocking of 250 Twitter accounts, which was ordered by the Indian government. The Indian government threatened the short message service Twitter with fines for releasing 250 accounts and many tweets that had previously been blocked.
The company said it would have to obey government orders. India is the most populous democracy in the world, but regularly uses internet lockdowns to curb the flow of information during civil unrest.