Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Maoist supporters flee as Nepal policemen fire tear gas to disperse the crowd in Kathmandu on Friday, May 7, 2010.
Maoist supporters flee as Nepal policemen fire tear gas to disperse the crowd in Kathmandu on Friday, May 7, 2010.

Thousands rally in Nepal capital

About 35,000 people rally in Katmandu to demand an end to a five-day shutdown of the capital enforced by Maoists.

KATMANDU // About 35,000 people rallied in Katmandu today to demand an end to a five-day shutdown of the Nepalese capital enforced by Maoists that has crippled business and other city life, police said. The rally was organised by the business community and other civil society groups to demand that the coalition government and the Maoists find a solution to bring an end to the impasse. The Maoists, who have the largest number of seats in parliament, are demanding the resignation of the prime minister and the formation of a new national unity government under Maoist administration.

"We have given the political parties and the Maoists a two-day deadline to come to a consensus and end the strike," Kush Kumar Joshi, organiser of the meeting and president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said. "The strikes have been crippling the business industry and all sectors have been adversely affected. Nepal is losing NPR2.25 billion (Dh110 million) every day," he said.

Although talks between the Maoists and the political parties have been continuing since Sunday, there is no sign yet of breaking the deadlock which has seen all businesses shut and people confined to their homes. There was no violence at the rally, police said, but at one point officers fired tear gas to avoid a possible confrontation between Maoist supporters and rally participants. There were also sporadic clashes between anti-Maoist demonstrators and Maoist supporters elsewhere in the capital, but police said the situation was under control.

On Thursday, the United States called on the Maoists to end the strike, voicing fear that the standoff could spiral into violence. Robert Blake, the assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, encouraged all sides to try to resolve differences peacefully as hopes fade that Nepal will meet a May 28 deadline to complete a new constitution. Mr Blake, who visited the Himalayan nation last month, said that the general strike called by the Maoists "is creating serious hardships for the people of Nepal and the risk of dangerous confrontation is growing."

Maoist guerrillas fought a bloody insurgency against the state for 10 years before a peace deal was signed in 2006. The left-wing former rebels then won elections in 2008 before falling from power last year. * AFP

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National