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Nepal Oppn plans to step up protests against Govt

A meeting between leaders of the political parties will take place on Tuesday to drum up strategies for fresh protests against King.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 12:11 IST

Nepal's main opposition parties have threatened to step up protests against the Royal Government and seek freedom for hundreds of pro-democracy activists that have been detained.

A meeting between leaders of the seven major political parties has been scheduled on Tuesday to drum up strategies for fresh protests against King Gyanendra's direct rule over the country.

"We were successful in foiling the king's plans to hold municipal elections earlier this month. Now our focus will be to come up with plans to force him to give up the power he has grabbed," said Krishna Sitaula, spokesman of Nepali Congress, the largest party in Nepal.

The king ousted an interim government in February 2005 and formed a new administration under his own chairmanship, prompting the country's seven major parties to form an alliance aimed at forcing the king to restore democracy.

There have been continued street protests ever since, and the king appealed to the political parties this week for talks. The parties rejected the call.

The government has detained hundreds of dissident politicians and activists in efforts to squash their campaign to disrupt the February8 municipal elections. The efforts largely failed, because the polling drew few candidates and few voters.

Political parties have said they would file cases in court to seek the release of the hundreds of politicians and activists who were nabbed.

"We are going to file cases to seek the freedom for those who are still in jail. We will force the government to release all of political detainees," said Subash Nemwang of the Communist Party of Nepal.

The Supreme Court and lower courts, which have remained largely independent despite the king's firm grip on the government, have been ordering the administration to free dozens of jailed dissidents, saying the government has no reason to hold them.

First Published: Feb 21, 2006 09:30 IST