Hundreds of steelworkers in Illinois, the home state of US President Barack Obama, have protested against the use of India-made steel in an oil pipeline project connecting the US region with Canada. The workers were demanding the adoption of the 'buy American' policy by the authorities.
While voices have been raised against Chinese products in the US in the recent past, this is probably for the first time that a 'Made in India' brand has been targeted.
The rally, which took place in Granite City, Illinois, on Wednesday, was organised by the United Steel Workers.
Held against the backdrop of a huge pile of steel pipes with 'Made in India' marks, it attracted some 1,000 protesters in near freezing temperatures. These steel pipes have been imported from India to build a 2,000-mile oil pipeline from Canada to this part of the US.
Carrying banners and posters of 'Buy American' and 'Rebuild American Manufacturing,' the slogan-shouting protesters demanded that these 'Made in India' steel pipes be replaced by those manufactured in the US.
The organisers of the rally said the steel pipes made in India, destined for use in the Keystone Pipeline being built by TransCanada from the oil fields of Alberta in Canada to the Conoco-Phillips refinery in Illinois, are being unloaded from nearby railroad cars and transferred to tractor trailers at a time when some 2,000 workers at USS Steel have been laid off from the adjacent steel mill.
The rally called for an end to the public policy of the past 30 years, which they alleged had led to the wilful dismantling of the industrial and manufacturing base of the American economy and the loss of millions of decent, middle-class supporting jobs.
Participants at the rally demanded a new policy that emphasises the development of new energy technologies and the desperately-needed investment in the US economy's infrastructure utilising American-made manufactured products.