Farmers storm Delhi's Red Fort in protest over agriculture laws

Farmers storm Delhi's Red Fort in protest over agriculture laws

After tearing down barricades and driving tractors through roadblocks, thousands of Indian farmers on Tuesday overwhelmed police and stormed into the historic Red Fort complex in New Delhi.

Police fired tear gas in an unsuccessful bid to force the protesters back. One protester was killed, a witness said, and Delhi police said 86 officers had been injured across the city.

Protesting against agricultural reforms, tens of thousands of farmers began the day in a convoy of tractors festooned with Indian and union flags along the city's fringes.

They commandeered cranes and used ropes to tear down roadblocks, forcing constables in riot gear to give way.

Some of those who scaled the walls of Red Fort carried ceremonial swords, scattering police who tried to prevent them from entering in the city centre where the annual Republic Day parade of troops and military hardware was taking place.

The government ordered internet services in some parts of the capital to be blocked, according to mobile carrier Vodafone Idea, in an attempt to prevent further unrest.

Farmers have camped outside the capital for almost two months, posing one of the biggest challenges to Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he came to power in 2014.

Agriculture employs about half of India's population of 1.3 billion, and unrest among an estimated 150 million landowning farmers worries the government.

Nine rounds of talks with farmers' unions have failed to end the protests, as farm leaders rejected the government's offer to delay the laws for 18 months, making a push for repeal instead.