Nepal under siege, King defiant
A 7-party alliance has been agitating since April 6 to force King Gyanendra to restore multi-party democracy. Picsindia Updated: Apr 21, 2006 15:39 IST
Defying curfew and shoot-at-sight orders, hundreds of pro-democracy activists took to the Kathmandu streets for the second day on Friday raising slogans against King Gyanendra amid speculation that he may soon offer a reconciliation pact to defuse the political crisis.
The protestors converged on Kathmandu roads in large numbers responding to the call by the seven-party political alliance to hold fresh protests and march to the Narayanhiti Royal Palace.
The Royal Government extended the curfew which it had been imposed on Thursday to prevent activists from holding demonstrations, triggering clashes in which five people were killed and over 100 injured.
An anti-king protester wounded in Thursday's violence died, raising the death toll for that day to five and the overall number of demonstrators killed by security forces during two weeks of often violent street protests to 14.
The Government announced that the curfew has been extended till 8 pm in the evening and asked the people in Kathmandu, the suburbs of Lalitpur and Bhaktapur and in the resort town of Pokhara, to observe it strictly.
It warned that those who violate the orders will be shot. It said the curfews were being imposed "to protect the people, property and peace."
Speculation is rife that the monarch will make some announcement on national television soon to defuse the situation.
Prime Minister Manomohan Singh's special envoy Karan Singh after his meeting with the King on Thursday had said that the monarch may make an announcement shortly that would help defuse the situation.