Nepal - Sammenstød mellem politi og demonstrater
NEPAL: Police again clash with protesters
IRINnews.org, 24. januar 2006
Selvom forbuddet mod forsamlinger og møder er ophævet samt at blokeringen af mobiltelefoner er indstillet, så er der fortsat uroligt i Kathmandu. For sikkerhedsstyrkerne har tilsyneladende fået instrukser om ikke at tillade større forsamlinger og demonstrationer, så da der opstod spontane demonstrationer, brød sikkerhedsstyrkerne ind og der opstod konfrontationer, der resulterede i arrestationer, ligesom en del demonstrater måtte behandles for sikkerhedsstyrkernes voldsomhed.
Security in the capital had been tightened after 11 policemen were killed near the border of Kathmandu on 14 January by the Maoists, the communist rebels who have been waging a violent campaign against the Nepalese government since 1996.
A night curfew had been imposed for nearly a week since 16 January, while mobile phone services were cut off two days later following fears that the Maoists would infiltrate a mass rally planned for Saturday.
But following a resumption of mobile services and a lifting of a ban on mass rallies earlier in the day, the government again clamped down on political parties.
Just hours after the government announcement, police were authorised to use all necessary force to disperse an otherwise peaceful democratic rally at New Road, a key market and trade centre of the city.
Riot police with sticks and helmets fired water cannons and tear gas towards activists of the seven political parties which had organised the rally and were protesting against next month's municipal elections.
Nepal's King Gyanendra reportedly failed to consult political leaders about the 8 February polls which the mainstream parties are boycotting and Maoist rebels have vowed to stop.
According to eyewitnesses on Tuesday afternoon, one of the activists was seen dragged away by his throat, while another one chased and beaten by the police.
Political activists and students were seen waving party flags and chanting slogans demanding that King Gyanendra surrender his grip on power and restore democracy in the impoverished Himalayan nation, Reuters reported.
"Down with the autocratic monarchy," they chanted. "Long live democracy."
At least nine people were injured during the baton charge on the normally busy shopping street in central Kathmandu, the Reuters report added.
At least 10 of the activists were arrested forcing others to flee, while shops in the area were closed down due to the violence.
"It started as a quiet and calm demonstration as we had promised for the sake of avoiding any hassles for the innocent bystanders but the police turned it into violence," Ram Kumar, one political demonstrator, explained.
But Minister for Home Affairs, Kamal Thapa, told reporters that restrictions would be re-imposed if there were more violent mass demonstrations, noting that the government was fully prepared to proceed with the 8 February municipal elections which had prompted the demonstrations in the first place.
Sources close to the Council of Ministers, chaired by King Gyanendra, said that there was a possibility of halting the elections from proceeding if the seven parties agreed to reconcile with the king, but the parties refused.
The Election Commission (EC) also announced that it would publish the names of the candidates after their nominations on 26 January, the same day when a nationwide strike has been called by the political parties.
Meanwhile, the leading dailies and weeklies of Nepal have strongly condemned the killing of one of the main election candidates, Bijal Lal Das of the Nepal Sadhavana Party (NSP) on Monday.
With the Maoists largely blamed for his death, the editorial of the largest selling daily Kantipur said that they [the Maoists] would lose credibility if they kept on breaching their own commitments expressed to the United Nations not to kill or abduct unarmed politicians.
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