Apr 23, 2006

Protesters Ignore Curfew in Nepal Capital

An opposition party supporter with the slogan 'Loktantra Zindabad' painted on his head, courtesy of AP.com

(Kathmandu, Nepal) A popular uprising that has engulfed this Himalayan nation for the past 18 days has moved beyond its pro-democratic roots to become a movement against the Nepalese monarchy itself.

At least 23 people were injured today in clashes between protesters and police in different parts of the city, as security forces fired rubber bullets and teargas to disperse the crowds. King Gyanendra's offer to deliver power to an alliance of seven political parties has failed to quell protests against his rule.

Gyanendra seized control of the federal government last year, arguing that the political parties had failed to bring stability or end a 10-year communist insurgency.

Opposition leaders are reportedly debating whether they should reinstate parliament themselves, thereby setting up their own government to run parallel to that of King Gyanendra.

Among the protesters Sunday was S.M. Dixit, a 64 year-old physician who supports that idea.

"It is the right of the people, the democratic right of the people to form a parallel government," he said. "Because we do not accept this government. We never accepted this government. We have a right to form our own government and that government must come out whether the king wants it or not."

The opposition coalition called for street protests to continue throughout the week, including another massive rally Tuesday.

"We urge all the people, the old and the young alike, to come out of their homes, their villages, their neighbourhoods and get to the nearest point on the ring road for the mass rally," read a statement from the coordinating body.

Nepal, a nation of some 28 million people, is nestled in the Himalayas between China and India. The country is the only official Hindu state in the world. Eight of the ten highest mountain peaks - including Mount Everest - are located in Nepal.


Dariush said...

Wow! An honest-to-goodness real revolution, instead of a George Soros-funded, colour-coded one.

Comrade Prachanda's forces are the guiding hand here and Li Onesto has done the best job of documenting this revolution since its inception.

Also some good posts, with very insightful comments, at Lenin's Tomb.

Having lived through one of these things, albeit as a youngster, I can tell you that there's nothing like the mixture of jubilation and anxiety that you feel when you see everybody in the streets, defying even martial law, and you know that the State is going down.

Hooda Thunkit said...

My thoughts and prayers are with the Nepalese people, as is my fervent wish that things are resolved without violence.

historymike said...

Yes, this is the real deal, Dariush. Let's just hope things do not escalate beyond rubber bullets and teargas.

And yes - prayer is always a good thing, Hooda. It can never hurt, and who knows - maybe He is listening.

Which "He," though...

historymike said...

Thanks also for the links, Dariush. You are phenomenally well-read.

Stephanie said...

Yay for them!

liberal_dem said...

The only pertinent question for us is this: when will we see the American citizens in our streets protesting the corrupt government in our capital city?

Dariush said...

One can only wonder what it will take, how much ordinary Americans are willing to endure, before a similar spark is set off here.