Hundreds protest against communist rebels in Nepal

The protest comes hours after the communist rebels sign an agreement with the government, promising to lock up their weapons.

india Updated: Nov 08, 2006 13:47 IST

Hundreds of protesters blocked traffic in Nepal's capital on Wednesday to protest communist rebels forcing people to provide their supporters with shelter and food.

The protesters also surrounded one of the communists' offices, chanting slogans demanding the rebels withdraw plans to force each Kathmandu household to prepare to provide food and lodging to 10 visiting rebel supporters over the coming weekend.

The rebels plan to bring thousands of people to Katmandu from other parts of the country to attend a mass rally Friday.

The Maoist rebels' top leaders are scheduled to speak at the event.

"They have come to our houses and ordered us to open our houses to their people. This violates our basic rights, and we will not tolerate it," said one of the protesters, Chatraman Singh Karki.

The government has not tried to stop the rebels' plan, as the two sides are locked in crucial peace talks.

The protest came hours after the rebels and signed an agreement with the government, promising to lock up their weapons, keep their fighters in camps and join an interim government and parliament -- a major step in ending the Maoists' rebellion.

The government and rebel leaders made progress in talks this week, after months of delays in the peace process aimed at ending the communists' decade-old insurgency, which has killed more than 13,000 people.

The rebels declared a ceasefire and began peace talks with the government in April.

First Published: Nov 08, 2006 13:47 IST