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Nepal Maoists disrupt parliament, launch new protests

world Updated: Aug 07, 2009 20:59 IST
Nepal's Maoists

Nepal's Maoists disrupted parliament on Friday and threatened to launch street rallies to protest against the government's failure to resolve a row triggered by the sacking of the army chief, officials said.

The Maoists waged a decade-long civil war until a 2006 peace deal brought them to the mainstream. They scored a surprise victory in last year's election and formed the nation's first government after the abolition of the 239-year-old monarchy.

But in May, their leader Prachanda resigned as prime minister after President Ram Baran Yadav rejected his decision to sack army chief General Rookmangud Katawal, saying he had refused to take orders from the civilian government.

The Maoists say Yadav's move was "unconstitutional", and are demanding that it be debated in the parliament, which the government has so far refused.

On Friday, senior Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, said his party, that dominates the parliament, will launch street protests from next week to press for their demand, stoking fresh political turmoil in the nascent Himalayan republic.

"There is no alternative to this," Shrestha said. "We will put massive popular pressure on the government which has refused to listen to us."

He then led Maoist deputies, shouting "establish civilian supremacy" slogans to the rostrum of the speaker, forcing him to adjourn parliament until next week.

Analysts said the move by the Maoists highlighted the mistrust with the government and threatens a peace deal that ended a conflict which caused more than 13,000 deaths.

The peace process has been stalled since May when the Maoists walked out of the government.

A recent report by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the crisis had prevented it from completing its work of monitoring the peace deal and agree on the future of more than 19,000 Maoist fighters living in camps.