Nepalese workers take part in May Day protests | india | Hindustan Times
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Nepalese workers take part in May Day protests

Nepalese workers returned to the streets on May Day to urge the new government to ditch labour laws passed by the monarch.

india Updated: May 01, 2006 15:48 IST

Nepalese workers returned to the streets on May Day on Monday following weeks of protests against King Gyanendra to demand a new government ditch labour laws passed by the monarch, union officials said.

Marchers said they were hopeful of a brighter future after King Gyanendra recalled parliament after buckling under weeks of demonstrations but demanded politicians took swift action to improve workers' rights.

"We're demanding fully fledged democracy and workers will be protected," said Rajendra Kumar Acharya, of the Union Network International, heading a column of bank workers.

"During the king's regime, he produced an ordinance making it easier to hire and fire workers. We're demanding that is cancelled."

Union officials said up to 10,000 people joined marches in the centre of Kathmandu, a figure that could not be independently verified. They were due to gather for a rally in the centre of the city.

Workers on the good-natured marches said they were celebrating King Gyanendra's climbdown after he recalled parliament after some 14 months of outright rule.

The monarch seized power in February 2005 saying the government was corrupt and had failed to tackle a Maoist insurgency that has left more than 12,500 dead since it started in 1996.

But he was forced to back down during 19 days of often violent protests in April after a seven-party coalition and Maoists mobilised supporters on to the streets in their hundreds of thousands.

"This is not only supporting the parliament but also the labour movement which supported the reinstatement of parliament," said Bidur Karki, secretary-general of the Independent Transport Workers' Association.

He led a group of bus drivers chanting: "We want full democracy" and "Democracy -- now jobs."