Nepal: Resistance to Royalist Repression Continues


4-13-06, 9:17 am

PA Radio report: Nepal Uprising

Pro-democracy forces continued to resist government repression in Nepal this week. With several protesters killed, hundreds wounded, and thousands jailed, opposition political parties in Nepal continue to call and organize public protests and a general strike in response to anti-democratic measures adopted by the government of King Gyanendra.

The opposition parties have formed an alliance called the seven party alliance, which includes liberals, democrats, nationalists, and communists.

The royalist regime seized power more than one year ago by dismissing the elected government. In response to nationwide protests, the king ordered a crackdown on his political opponents, including mass arrests and the imposition of a curfew.

Thousands of people demonstrated in many towns across the country over the past six days. Throughout the weekend, pro-democracy demonstrators met with massive brutality by police forces with batons and clubs, rubber bullets and tear gas.

According to the Communist Party of Nepal, Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML), one of the seven major parties in opposition to the king's repression, the protests and general strike is gaining momentum and popularity.

Since the beginning, the protests and general strike have involved hundreds of thousands of people across the country. At each protest, police tactics have been brutally violent and arbitrary.

In Gongabu, a northern section of Kathmandu, police forces fired on a crowd of more than 15,000 demonstrators with rubber bullets and tear gas. About 200 people sustained severe injuries in the attack.

In Butawal west of Kathmandu, more than 40,000 people participated in the protest rally, defying the government's curfew order. At least 25 protestors sustained injuries during an attack by pro-government security forces.

In Kirtipur, at Panga on the southern edge of Kathmandu, confrontations between the police and protestors kept up all of the day last Monday. About 25 school pro-democracy protesters were arrested and beaten. Government security forces intervened in a protest rally in Chabahil, a northeastern section of Kathmandu, and charged the crowd with batons, injuring leaders of the march and others.

In Kailali and Kanchanpur protest rallies of 10,000 and 4,000 took place on Tuesday. About 147 people were arrested.

In other cities and regions across the country, protestors met with police violence. Despite government attacks, pro-democracy demonstrators continue to plan marches and demonstrations in defiance of curfews and other repressive measures.

Amrit Kumar Bohara, the CPN-UML's acting general secretary, noted in a recent press release that 'the participation of not only political leaders and activists but also professionals, human rights activists and people of walks of life has been increasing.'

Kumar is acting leader of the CPN-UML after the government’s arrest of party leader Pradip Nepal late last month.

Accusing the royalist government of fascist and violent repression, Bohara described the crackdown as a 'desperate move of the defeated mentality of the government.'

Calling for the end of the monarchy, Kumar stated that no dictatorship has withstood a popular uprising against it. 'Nepal belongs to the Nepalis,' he added. 'It is not a private domain of any monarch. No one is ready to be a slave or subject of anyone in this 21st century.'

Kumar also appealed to the Maoist rebels to stop violent attacks. A decade-long civil war between Maoist insurgents and the government of Nepal has resulted in 13,000 deaths, according to human rights sources. 'I would like to appeal the Maoists to stop all kinds of violent activities and to declare a cease-fire immediately,' Kumar concluded.

After the launch of nationwide protests and the general strike, the Maoist faction agreed to a 12-point program of unity with the seven party alliance

The Nepal Democracy Solidarity Committee India expressed its confidence 'that this popular upsurge in Nepal, based on the strength of the unity amongst the political parties, will succeed in firmly establishing a democratic set up in Nepal.'

--Joel Wendland is managing editor of Political Affairs and can be reached at