Thousands of Sikhs attended a rally in Trafalgar Square to demand a referendum on independence from India.

Sikhs For Justice, the human rights advocacy group which organised the event, announced plans to hold a global referendum in 2020 to give the global Sikh community the chance to vote for the creation of an independent sovereign state of Khalistan.

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The rally went ahead despite claims there had been attempts by the Indian government to block it.

Supporters from all over the world brandished banners reading "Free Punjab, End Indian occupation", "Punjab Referendum 2020 for Khalistan" and "We will re-establish Punjab as an independent country". They say they have the right to self-determination under the UN Charter and International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

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Gurpatwant S. Pannun, legal advisor to Sikhs for Justice, said: "This is a peaceful, democratic campaign to give Sikhs the right to determine their own future.

"Since announcing our plans, we have been subjected to violent and illegal measures by the Indian state, including trumped-up charges of sedition and illegal detention, designed to silence us. We will not be silenced”.

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Leading human rights lawyer Richard Rogers, Director of Global Diligence UK, told the rally the Sikh people have a strong argument for the right to self-determination under international law.

"He said they had collated “a great deal of credible evidence” that Sikhs had been persecuted by the Indian government and the only meaningful way to pursue independence was through a referendum.

Former Labour MP and Respect Party MP George Galloway also addressed the rally and Green Party leader Caroline Lucas sent a message of support.

Sikhs For Justice say their campaign is entirely peaceful and the London 2020 Declaration will give the Sikh people the right to vote on the independence issue.