Wednesday, February 01, 2006

SUCCESS: Solidarity Action for Democracy in Nepal (February 1)

Long live international solidarity!

More than 200 people turned up this afternoon to support the Nepali people's call for the installation of full democracy in Nepal. Friends and supporters from various organizations and groups joined in the march from Kowloon Park to the Nepali Consulate, spoke in the program and signed the joint statement issued by the Nepali people's movement through the Asian Students Association.

It has been a year now since King Gyanendra called for martial rule and assumed complete autocratic rule in Nepal. For over a year, he had political organizations clamped down, media and organizational offices ransacked and closed down, human rights advocates, progressives, lawyers and even journalists arrested and detained, Kathmandu and the whole of Nepal militarized and the rights and liberties of peoples suppressed and violated.

Leaders of various Nepalese organizations in Hong Kong led the program with their fiery speeches: Ramesh Gurung, chairperson of Far East Overseas Nepalese Association; Ganesh Isam, chairperson of Hong Kong Nepalese Federation; and Santosh Ghale, chairperson of Hong Kong Nepalese Alliance Association.

Migrant workers led by the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, local workers led by Elizabeth Tang of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, legislator Lee Cheuk Yan, Ramon Bultron of Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants and International League of Peoples' Struggle, Apo Leung of Asian Migrants Resource Centre, Bruce Van Vhooris of Asian Human Rights Commission and Agnes Khoo of ARENA were present and expressed their support to the campaign.

Student union leaders of Hong Kong University and Polytechnic University, Lau Fong and Thomas, were joined by their fellow leaders to express solidarity. Lau Fong spoke in behalf of the students.

We informed the group that member organizations of the ASA, like AASJA of Japan, NZUSA of New Zealand, Gabriela-Youth, CEGP, NUSP and LFS of the Philippines have sent their messages of solidarity to their fellow students in ANNFSU. Other organizations like the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, ANAKBAYAN and other organizations expressed solidarity as well.

Big and significant movements in Asia-Pacific like the Asia Peasants Coalition and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or BAYAN (New Patriotic Alliance) of the Philippines sent their messages. We also learned that BAYAN led a solidarity action in the Philippines on this day.

Both Bhakta Gurung and Rey Asis, our secretariat members, led the march together with the Far Eastern Overseas Nepalese Association.

It was a highly agitating afternoon with Nepalese and other nationalities chanting slogans calling for the full restoration of democracy in Nepal, the recognition and protection of rights of the Nepalese people and the immediate withdrawal of Gyanendra from his seat of power.

The demand letter, together with the solidarity messages we received, was submitted to a representative of the Nepali Consulate as the protesters raised their voices in unison: Down with the Autocratic King! Restore democracy in Nepal now! Long live international solidarity.

The program was a very successful event. We look forward to strengthening this solidarity until the Nepali people have achieved democracy and human rights in their motherland.