Even after withdrawing their indefinite general strike, hundreds of Maoists on Monday clashed with police and beat up journalists as they encircled the seat of government in Kathmandu in a bid to force the ruling coalition to quit, leading to injuries to at least 18 people.
Unified CPN-Maoist activists surrounded the Singhdurbar secretariat, the main administrative building of the government here, two days after calling off their week-old indefinite anti-government general strike across the country.
During the protest, a cameraman was severely beaten up by Maoist cadres as he tried to take a picture of policemen who arrived on a van at the restricted area at Maitigharmandala near Singhdurbar, police said.
The former rebels also thrashed another two TV crew members, forcing police to intervene.
The three journalists were among 18 people injured during the Maoist protest, which came after Maoist chairman Prachanda warned the media against criticising the former rebels.
Among the three journalists was an Avenues television cameraman who sustained head injury and whose camera was also damaged during the Maoist attack. Another television cameraman belonging to Image Channel also sustained injuries.
Police had to intervene to rescue the journalists leading to a clash with the Maoists in which three policemen, including DSP Bhola Rawal, and a dozen former rebels were injured.
At the end of their week-long strike, Maoist chief Prachanda had said the former rebels would not spare anyone if the media tried to give negative picture of the Maoists while reporting about the agitation.
He also warned Kathmandu's middle-class people, saying that they would record everything in their memory if anybody misbehaved with Maoist cadres, who have come to the capital from different districts to participate in the agitation.
After withdrawing their indefinite strike, the Maoists have been staging protests in front of government administrative buildings and district administrative offices in various parts of the country, including Kathmandu.
After intensified public pressure and diplomatic efforts, the Maoists on Friday night decided to withdraw their strike, which was in place since May 2.
Ruling alliance members like Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Sadbhavana Party welcomed the Maoists' decision to withdraw the indefinite strike, which had caused hardship to the people.