The 240-year-old flag with the Shah dynasty’s insignia was removed from Narayanhity Palace on Thursday morning, hours after the proclamation of Nepal as a democratic republic.
The Constituent Assembly had on Wednesday night declared Nepal a republic, and turned King Gyanendra and his family into commoners. The meeting also asked the former king to vacate his palace within 15 days.
The royal flag was removed at 8.30am. But the government is yet to say who removed the flag. Security officials at the royal palace expressed ignorance over who removed the flag.
However, an AFP report from Kathmandu quoted a palace source as saying: “The royal flag was replaced by Nepal’s national flag inside the palace.” The report added: “The flag has been changed as part of the government decision to implement a republic.”
Thousands of people belonging to pro-republican political parties assembled in front of the south gate of the palace at Durbar Marg to hoist the national flag. Police had to resort to lathicharge after some people tried to hoist the flag at the south and west gates of the palace. The police have cordoned off the entire stretch of Durbar Marg to avert any untoward incident or attack on the palace.
Police also beat back some youths who tried to raise the national flag on top of King Mahendra’s (Gyanendra’s father) statue, located 150 metres south of the main entrance of the palace.
People were seen chanting slogans in favour of the republic and asking Gyanendra to vacate the palace immediately.
Citizens rejoiced in the streets till late at night after the assembly proclaimed Nepal a republic from Birendra International Convention Centre at 11.25pm (Nepal time) on Wednesday.