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Nepal - Torsdagens demonstrationer resulterede i øget magtanvendelse fra politi og sikkerhedsstyrker

NEPAL: National strike ends with more violence

IRINnews.org, 26. januar 2006

Torsdagens omfattende demonstrationer (26.jan) i masser af byer over hele Nepal resulterede i mange arrestationer samt forulempelser af mange deltagere i det store antal fredelige demonstrationer. Presset mod de opstillede kandidater til byrådsvalgene øges, ikke mindst fra maoisterne, og den internationale bevågenhed er yderligere skærper, efter at også Kina nu er begyndt at udtrykke bekymring over udviklingen i Nepal.

Pro-king supporters registered their candidature at the Election Commission for the 8 February municipal elections despite serious threats from the Maoist rebels - ©  Sagar Shrestha/IRIN
KATHMANDU, 26 Jan 2006 (IRIN) - Over 200 political demonstrators have been arrested throughout Nepal on Thursday during peaceful rallies held by the seven-party alliance to enforce a nationwide strike.

The opposition are protesting against local elections slated for next month, which they believe are intended to legitimise the government of King Gyanendra.

The king seized power in a coup nearly one year ago, sacking former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and his cabinet for failing to deal with Nepal's long-running Maoist insurgency.

But that move prompted international concern and in November the Maoist rebels and the opposition political parties agreed on a common programme to end the king's rule.

Following a recent resurgence in violence, however, human rights activists report security forces are now manhandling and arresting local journalists, as well as human rights workers who are closely observing the now regular demonstrations.

According to the local rights group, Insec, two of its activists were dragged into a van despite being dressed in their blue human rights uniforms.

Naman Kumar Shahi, Insec representative in Dailekh district, 450 km west of the capital, Kathmandu, was assaulted by the police. His colleague, Kushal Basnet, was also assaulted and subsequently arrested in Udaypur, 170 km east of the capital, the group said.

"This incident only proves the true autocratic nature of this government," said Insec’s chairman, Subodh Pyakhurel.

Three journalists - Chandra BC, Janak Neupane and Sitaram Jaisi - were also arrested in Dailekh district while they were on reporting duty.

Nepal's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed serious concern that police were using excessive force while arresting innocent bystanders. During a violent clash between the police and demonstrators in Pokhara, another major Nepalese city and tourist area, police opened fire, seriously injuring 28-year-old Basudeb Baral, a passerby.

Yet despite the violence, the government remains determined that the polls go ahead, registering the names of candidates for the municipal elections scheduled for 8 February. It also appears to be ignoring threats against the candidates by the Maoists, who have been waging an armed rebellion against the state for the past 10 years.

"The government has promised to give us enough protection and also promised us life insurance in case anything happens to us," said Prachanda Lal Shrestha, chairman of Save the Nation, a pro-royalist party. Shrestha is running for the seat of mayor in Kathmandu.

Another candidate, Shanta Chitrakar of the Social Democratic Party, said that she was still unsure of how much protection the government could muster. "I hope God can protect us," she said before a crowd of journalists while entering the Election Commission to register.

Yet that could prove tricky as the Maoists have already begun making good on their threats against the candidates. Ram Kumar Tharu, a 50-year-old member of Nepal Sabhabana Party (NSP), was abducted from his residence in the Bardia district, 750 km west of Kathmandu, while his colleague, Bijay Lal Das, was shot by the rebels on Monday in Janakpur, 128 km east of the capital.

Meanwhile, as conditions within the country worsen, even China, Nepal's giant neighbour to the north, has expressed concern for the first time about events in the Himalayan kingdom.

"China hopes the situation in Nepal can stabilise as soon as possible and all parties in Nepal can narrow their differences through dialogue and commit themselves to national development and prosperity," said foreign ministry spokesperson Kong Quan during a press conference on Tuesday in Beijing.

© IRIN - This article appeared originally on IRIN News.org and is published by engelund.dk according a general agreement. To view the original article, please click here.
IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks) is a project of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
[This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.]


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Opdateret d. 31.1.2006