Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Nepal Pro Democracy Movement Intensifies Nationwide

UPDATE: The pro-democracy movement leaded by the agitating seven-party alliance (SPA) continued to its 13th consecutive day Tuesday. Despite the rain, protesters defied government prohibitory orders and staged demostrations in all the three districts of Kathmandu Valley throughout the whole day.

Demonstrations were held at Chhetrapati, Thamel, Kalanki, Thankot, Gongabu, Min Bhawan, Kirtipur, Koteshwor, Chabahil, Jorpati, Suryabinayak, Kaushaltar of Bhaktapur, Mangalbazaar, Balkot, among other places. A protester was injured in police firing at Buddhanagar. Large numbers of people participated in demonstrations in other parts of the country today.

Protesters in Nepalgunj vandalized Gyanendra Chowk, presently under construction, during today’s demonstrations at New Road. Nearly three-dozen protesters were injured when police opened fire at demonstrators numbering in their thousands.

Three protesters and a policeman are in serious condition. In Pokhara, at least 30 activists were injured in police firing. The policemen opened fire at the protesters who were defying the government ban orders at Dipendra Chowk. Police fired dozens of rounds into the air and more than 100 rounds of teargas shells to disperse the agitators. A BBC Nepali Service journalist was among three others injured in the police action.

Police also opened fire at demonstrators at Nagarpalika Chowk, Mustang Chowk and the neighboring Lekhnath Chowk. Pokhara remained tense till this evening. In Udaypur, some 200 protesters were injured when police resorted to baton charges, while a protester was injured in police firing during pro-democracy demonstrations. Six of the injured are in critical condition.

Demonstrations at Home Ministry continue

Demanding the establishment of Loktantra, demonstrations were staged at various government offices including the Home Ministry bringing official work to a halt. Employees of Nepal Rastra Bank also continued to stop bank transactions today.

The government authorities arrested at least 14 employees during today’s demonstrations.

Likewise, employees of Radio Nepal and Nepal Television staged pro-democracy demonstrations in their respective office premises.

Meanwhile, the SPA today said its agitation wouldn’t disrupt the National Polio Campaign slated to be launched on Wednesday. Protesters organized a pro-democracy cultural programme at Gongabu despite light rain. The demonstrators also defied the government prohibitory orders. Thousands of people in Nepalgunj and Birgunj participated in today’s pro-democracy movement. Similar demonstrations were staged in Humla and Jumla. In Kavre, a group of gunmen attempted to foil the SPA’s demonstrations.

Two persons with Chinese guns damaged the stage of the mass-meeting and attempted to attack SPA leaders, Ram Sharan Mahat, Shankar Pokhrel and NP Saud. The gunmen escaped after the protesters in hundreds retaliated. Similar pro-democracy demonstrations were held in Chitwan, Jhapa, Taplejung, Siraha, Janakpur, Ilam, Charikot and Gauriganj. At least three-dozen protesters were injured in a police baton charge at Manma, Kalikot. More than 25,000 consumers of community forest at Ghorahi, Dang took to the streets expressing solidarity with the SPA’s ongoing movement.