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AP PHOTOS: Angry Indian farmers besiege capital in trucks

Instead of cars, the normally busy highway on the outskirts of New Delhi that connects most northern Indian towns to the capital is filled with tens of thousands of protesting farmers, many wearing colorful turbans.

Their convoy of trucks, trailers and tractors stretches for at least three kilometers (1.8 miles). Inside, they have hunkered down, supplied with enough food and fuel to last weeks.

It’s a siege of sorts and the mood among the protesting farmers is boisterous. Their rallying call is “Inquilab Zindabad” (“Long live the revolution”).

Darshan Singh, 68, sits at the back of his tractor trailer parked on a highway, adding to a convoy of farmers' trucks, trailers and tractors sretching for at least three kilometers (1.8 miles), protesting against new farm laws, at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The protests started in September but drew nationwide attention last week when the farmers marched from northern Punjab and Haryana, two of India's largest agricultural states. On their way to the capital, they pushed aside concrete barricades set up by police and braved tear gas, batons and water cannons. (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

The farmers are protesting new laws they say will result in their exploitation by corporations, eventually rendering them landless.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, rattled by the growing rebellion, insists the reforms will benefit them.

But the farmers aren’t yielding.

Jagir Singh, 71, looks into the mirror of a tractor as he ties his turban before joining fellow protesters protesting against new farm laws at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Instead of cars, the normally busy highway on the outskirts of New Delhi that connects most northern Indian towns to the capital is filled with tens of thousands of protesting farmers, many wearing colorful turbans. It’s a siege of sorts and the mood among the protesting farmers is boisterous. Their rallying call is “Inquilab Zindabad” (“Long live the revolution”). (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

At night, they sleep inside the trailers or under the trucks. During the day, they sit huddled in groups at the backs of the vehicles, surrounded by mounds of rice, lentils and vegetables.

They take early morning cold showers in the open and spend lazy afternoons reading newspapers on neatly spread foam mattresses. Sitting cross-legged on a piece of cloth under their trucks, they play cards to fill the time.

Meals are prepared in enormous pots stirred with wooden spoons the size of canoe paddles. Food is served in hundreds of makeshift roadside soup kitchens. Washed clothes are hung neatly to dry on ropes stretched between tractors.

Davender Singh, 29, basks in the morning sun next to his tractor as he joins farmers protesting new laws they say will result in their exploitation by corporations, at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The farmers have have hunkered down, supplied with enough food and fuel to last weeks. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, rattled by the growing rebellion, insists the reforms will benefit them. But the farmers aren’t yielding. (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

“We aren't going to leave this place,” said Gurpreet Singh, 26, a biotechnology student from a farming family. “It's a fight for our survival.”

Every day, thousands more join the protesters.

The protests started in September but drew nationwide attention last week when the farmers marched from northern Punjab and Haryana, two of India's largest agricultural states. On their way to the capital, they pushed aside concrete barricades set up by police and braved tear gas, batons and water cannons.

Hardeep Singh, 42, stands for a photograph next to his tractor trailer parked on a highway as he joins tens of thousands of protesting farmers for a protest against new farm laws at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The protests started in September but drew nationwide attention last week when the farmers marched from northern Punjab and Haryana, two of India's largest agricultural states. Their rallying call is “Inquilab Zindabad” (“Long live the revolution”). (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

Now, on the outskirts of New Delhi, they are blocking highways, unwilling to withdraw and threatening to besiege the capital if their demands aren’t met.

“It will be a long battle,” said farmer Darshan Singh Khatauli, 65. “It is up to the government when they want to end this.”

From left to right, Sahajpal Singh, Arjun Singh, Jagmohan Singh and Gurdayal Singh chat as they sit inside a tent pitched on a highway during a protest against new farm laws, at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Instead of cars, the normally busy highway that connects most northern Indian towns to the capital is filled with tens of thousands of protesting farmers, many wearing colorful turbans. Their convoy of trucks, trailers and tractors stretches for at least three kilometers (1.8 miles). Inside, they have hunkered down, supplied with enough food and fuel to last weeks. (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

Jagir Singh, 71, ties his turban before joining fellow farmers for a protest against new farm laws, at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The farmers have laid a siege of sorts on the highway, sleeping inside the trailers or under the trucks at night. During the day, they sit huddled in groups at the backs of the vehicles, surrounded by mounds of rice, lentils and vegetables. They say they are not going to leave the place until their demands are met. (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

Savek Singh, 48, rests inside his vehicle parked on a highway as he joins a farmers protest, at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The farmers are protesting new laws they say will result in their exploitation by corporations, eventually rendering them landless. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, rattled by the growing rebellion, insists the reforms will benefit them. But the farmers aren’t yielding. (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

Indian farmer Surender Singh, 70, sits on a chair and gets a massage, next to a truck parked on a highway as part of protests against new farm bills, at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The farmers are protesting new laws they say will result in their exploitation by corporations, eventually rendering them landless. It’s a siege of sorts and the mood among the protesting farmers is boisterous. Their rallying call is “Inquilab Zindabad” (“Long live the revolution”). (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

Balbir Singh rests on a makeshift bed placed on his tractor parked on a highway as part of a protest against new farm laws at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Instead of cars, the normally busy highway on the outskirts of New Delhi that connects most northern Indian towns to the capital is filled with tens of thousands of protesting farmers, many wearing colorful turbans. Their convoy of trucks, trailers and tractors stretches for at least three kilometers (1.8 miles). Inside, they have hunkered down, supplied with enough food and fuel to last weeks. (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

Protesting farmers, Raghuvir Singh, right, and Gurnam Singh bask in the morning sun while sitting next to their tractor parked on a highway, during a protest at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Instead of cars, the normally busy highway that connects most northern Indian towns to the capital is filled with tens of thousands of protesting farmers, many wearing colorful turbans. Their convoy of trucks, trailers and tractors stretches for at least three kilometers (1.8 miles). Inside, they have hunkered down, supplied with enough food and fuel to last weeks. (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

Amrik Singh Mikka, 78, sits for a photograph on the back of his tractor trailer parked on a highway during a protest against new farm bills at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. At night, the farmers sleep inside the trailers or under the trucks. During the day, they sit huddled in groups at the backs of the vehicles, surrounded by mounds of rice, lentils and vegetables. Every day, thousands more join the protesters. (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

Farmer Atma Singh, 62, poses for a photograph as next to his tractor parked on a highway during a protest at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. The farmers are protesting new laws they say will result in their exploitation by corporations, eventually rendering them landless. Now, they are blocking highways, unwilling to withdraw and threatening to besiege the capital if their demands aren’t met. (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

Farmer Harinder Singh, 28, stands for a photograph next to his tractor parked on a highway during a protest against new farm laws, at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. The protests started in September but drew nationwide attention last week when the farmers marched from northern Punjab and Haryana, two of India's largest agricultural states. Every day, thousands more join the protesters. (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

Farmer Sikandar Machhonda, 22, sits at the back of his tractor trailer parked on a highway in a sign of protest against new farm laws, at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. The convoy of trucks, trailers and tractors stretches for at least three kilometers (1.8 miles). Inside, they have hunkered down, supplied with enough food and fuel to last weeks. (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

Farmer Satnam Singh, 67, repairs his makeshift cot attached to his tractor trailer parked on a highway during a protest, in the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. Instead of cars, the normally busy highway that connects most northern Indian towns to the capital is filled with tens of thousands of protesting farmers, many wearing colorful turbans. The farmers are protesting new laws they say will result in their exploitation by corporations, eventually rendering them landless. (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

Farmers Sukhvinder Singh, lying down, Harnam Singh, left, and Kuldeep Singh look at a mobile phone as they retire for the day, on at the Delhi-Haryana state border highway, India, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. At night, they sleep inside tractor trailers or under the trucks. During the day, the tens of thousands of protesting farmers sit huddled in groups at the backs of the vehicles, surrounded by mounds of rice, lentils and vegetables. Every day, thousands more join the protestors. (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)

Farmer Bhupinder Singh, 50, sits inside his car parked on a highway as a sign of protest against new farm laws, at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. The convoy of trucks, trailers and tractors stretches for at least three kilometers (1.8 miles). It’s a siege of sorts and the mood among the protesting farmers is boisterous. Their rallying call is “Inquilab Zindabad” (“Long live the revolution”). (AP PhotoAltaf Qadri)