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24 Nov, 2023 16:33

Police clash with pro-monarchy protesters in Asian state

Several demonstrators and law enforcement officers have reportedly been injured during the unrest in Nepal’s capital
Police clash with pro-monarchy protesters in Asian state

Police employed batons, tear gas, and water cannons as they tried to contain supporters of two rival opposition groups who protested against the government in Nepal’s capital on Thursday.

About 9,000 protesters led by entrepreneur Durga Prasai took to the streets to push for the restoration of monarchy and the Hindy state in the Himalayan country, the Kathmandu Post reported, citing security agencies estimates.

Simultaneously, some 7,000 rioters supporting the Communist Party-affiliated Youth Organization Nepal (YON) joined a protest to demand the resignation of PM Pushpa Kamal Dahaland’s government and an end to corruption.

Police, who were tasked with preventing the demonstrators from making it into the center of Kathmandu, used force after scuffles had broken out between the members of the two factions. Local officials said some 10,000 officers were deployed in the capital to maintain order. A government source told Indian Express that the army was also on standby, but its involvement eventually wasn’t required.

“Police only tried to contain a huge anarchic crowd of protesters,” Jitendra Basnet, the top official in the city administration of Kathmandu, told Reuters.

During the rally, members of the group led by Durga Prasai were waving the national flag. They chanted slogans supporting former King Gyanendra, who was ousted due to mass protests in 2006. “We love our king and country more than our lives. Bring back the monarchy. Abolish the republic,” the crowd chanted.

Prasai said later that the demonstration was a “mass rebellion of the people against the current system.” The pro-monarchy politician urged the prime minister to “surrender before the people and follow their wish about the kind of political system the country should adopt.” He also attacked the head of the Communist Party, Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, saying that “we oppose looting and plundering by political leaders.”

The Kathmandu Post cited police as saying that six protesters, two police personnel, and “eight other people” were injured as a result of the unrest. Prasai reportedly told a news conference that as many as 26 protesters were wounded.

On Friday, police arrested “scores” of supporters of the businessman for staging a protest in a public place without permission from the local administration. The Nepalese newspaper added that 74 people have been detained so far.

Nepal has seen little stability since it officially abolished its monarchy in 2008 and became a democracy. Over the past 15 years, the government changed around a dozen times in the country of 30.5 million, hampering its economic development and forcing millions of young people to seek work abroad.