среда, 14 марта 2012 г.

Nepal pro-monarchy party protests in capital city

Thousands of supporters of Nepal's deposed king blocked the main government offices in the capital city and clashed with police Tuesday to demand a referendum on restoring the monarchy and the country's status as a Hindu state.

Supporters of National Democratic Party Nepal, the only group to openly support the monarchy, gathered in the heart of Katmandu and blocked roads leading to Singhadurbar, the complex that houses key government offices including the prime minister's office.

The supporters briefly scuffled with police who were trying to remove them from the area where protests are banned by the government. No major injuries were reported in the scuffle.

Katmandu Police Chief Ganesh Chetri said police have detained a few protesters but did not give more details.

Bharat Rayamajhi, a spokesman for the party, claimed nearly 200 supporters have been detained and several were injured in the scuffle with police.

The party had enforced a general strike in Katmandu on Monday that shut down transportation, schools and markets.

It was the first time the royalist party has been able to organize a general strike. It has maintained a low profile since the centuries-old monarchy was abolished in 2008 and the king dethroned. Nepal was also declared a secular state at the same time.

Pro-democracy protests in 2006 forced then-King Gyanendra to give up his authoritarian rule and restore democracy. The king was stripped of power and Nepal was declared a republic two years later.

Nepal still suffers from political instability nearly four years later. A new constitution is supposed to be written by May 2010, but the main political parties are struggling to agree on a new document.

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