Nepal - Maoisterne intensiverer angreb og samtidig præges bybilledet af stadig mere massive demonstrationer vendt mod kongen
Maoist military attacks, massive demonstrations hit Nepali monarchy
A World to Win News Service, 29. januar 2006
Nepals monarki er rystet som aldrig før efter flere ugers voldsomt pres fra to sider. Maoisterne slog til med "nålestiks-operationer" i og omkring flere af Nepals større byer, og "7-parti-alliancen" har intensiveret demonstrationerne deriblandt også flere steder i Kathmandu-Dalen. Alligevel fastholder Kong Gyanendra og regeringen at byrådsvalgene den 8. februar skal afholdes, selvom de forlængst har mistet enhver form for betydning, og blot udsætter en masse uskyldige for unødige risici. Og derudover har maoisterne udskrevet et 7-dages "bandh" med butikslukninger og indstilling af al trafik.
The Nepali monarchy has been shaken as never before during the past few weeks under combined blows from two directions - the military offensive launched by the Communist Party of Nepal after it called off its four-month-long unilateral ceasefire, and clashes between demonstrators and police in Kathmandu and other key cities on a scale and level of violence not seen in decades. Following tumultuous street demonstrations and clashes with police organised by the parliamentary opposition parties against the king and his attempts to hold municipal elections 8 February, the CPN(M) has called for a seven-day general strike and countrywide shutdown 5-11 February.
In one of the most important Maoist-led assaults on key regime military positions, on 24 January the People's Liberation Army attacked police checkposts inside the mid-Western city of Nepalganj. BBC reported an hour-long battle in a crowed residential neighbourhood, and shooting and explosions in several other places. The British news outlet also reported extensive government losses when the PLA ambushed a Royal Nepalese Army patrol south of the capital 21 January. Another battle was reported in Bhojpur, in eastern Nepal. Some 80 percent of the country has been liberated, including most of the countryside, where the people now hold revolutionary political power. Clashes between Royal Army troops and PLA soldiers were reported in villages 50 kilometres south of Pokhara, a city to the west of the capital.
King Gyanendra staged a coup against parliament last year, dismissing parliament and taking all power into his own hands. Late last year the opposition alliance of the seven parliamentary parties and the Maoists signed a 12-point memo of understanding for joint struggle against the monarchy, including a boycott of the upcoming municipal elections, which they consider a thinly disguised bid to put a better face on the absolute monarchy, especially for the benefit of the major powers that have long supported the king against the people's war.
The south-eastern city of Janakpur saw the country's biggest demonstration since the kings's coup as more than 100,000 people flooded the streets in a protest against the monarchy 12 January. On 19 January, the king had more than 50 opposition leaders and political and human rights activists rounded up and imprisoned, banned all demonstrations, imposed a night-time curfew (beginning in the early evening outside of the capital) and cut all land-line and mobile phones.
Kathmandu witnessed huge demonstrations on 21 January. That weekend, some foreign journalists felt that the regime was tottering on the brink. Police used water cannons, tear gas and batons against thousands of protestors. BBC reported that the authorities packed at least 200 demonstrators and possibly more into trucks and took them off to an unknown location. Although demonstrations on 22 January were smaller than the day before, the seven-party parliamentary opposition announced plans for a new a national general strike. On 27 January, when police attacked gathering crowds in the capital, thousands of demonstrators unleashed torrents of bricks on police. The monarchy imposed a daytime curfew at the weekend, followed by an evening and a night-time curfew on the following days. The streets were deserted, and the Himalayan peaks could be seen clearly in the unusually clean air as almost all traffic ceased on the capital and most roads throughout the country and schools and businesses stood empty. In Pokhara, police opened fire on crowds of demonstrators using live ammunition, leaving one man wounded.
As the elections approached, the number of candidates dwindled so much that in 22 of the 36 municipalities there was only candidate - or even none at all in a quarter of the municipalities. Some 600 candidates resigned. The government took many of the remaining candidates into custody "for their own protection". It may be true that they needed protecting but it also seems that this measure was meant to prevent further resignations.
While King Gyanendra threw out the parliament in February 2005, he said he had a four-point agenda. He promised the world that he would establish peace and security in the country, control corruption, provide good governance and eventually hand over power to the people's representatives.
This is what has happened instead: in the name of peace and security, his Royal Army killed more unarmed people then in the preceding years. Repeated and mounting blows from the People's Liberation Army forced him to confine his Royal Army in their barracks. Then, taking advantage of the CPN(M)'s unilateral ceasefire , the RNA went into areas where it could not reach before, and conducted a killing campaign in the name of patrolling where it could not patrol before. This is why the Maoists resumed their offensive.
The king had accused the parliamentarian parties of corruption. He also said that once corruption is controlled, the Maoist problem would be finished because the people would have no more reason to oppose the regime. Of course, it is not just corruption but the whole nature of Nepalese society and the feudalistic and foreign-dominated regime that rules over it that has lead so many millions of people to support the Maoist-led New Democratic revolution aimed at instituting socialism and advancing to world communism. Nevertheless, it should be noted that since the royal coup, palace corruption has drained the national treasury far more than the parliamentary parties ever did over the last 15 years. According to the latest Transparency International report, which ranks countries from lowest to highest in terms of their degree of corruption, Nepal was number 90 on its list of countries just before the coup, and in the course of a single year plummeted to number 127, making it one of the most corrupt countries in the world since the king took over completely. The king was never interested in stopping corruption, but only in using this charge against parliamentary leaders to stop their protests against the coup
In the field of good governance, the king has been unable to tolerate even simple suggestions that people should have human rights. His changes within the bureaucracy amounted to fascism, with greatly increased powers - and men - for the police and army. He brought bloody mandales (royalist hooligans) into every sector of the civil services and judiciary. Inflation has more than doubled, with especially sharp price increases for rice and food products.
Now, Gyanendra's plan to hold municipal elections only underscores his intention to stabilize his personal power, not give it up. But in fact, it has provoked the opposite result, bringing the parliamentary parties into struggle alongside the Maoists against him.
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