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Nepal Oppn postpones anti-royal rally

The rally has been put off till Sunday due to imposition of curfew and shoot-at-sight orders by King Gyanendra.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2006 11:08 IST
Neelesh Misra (AP)
Neelesh Misra (AP)

An anti-monarchy rally planned for Saturday by Nepal's seven major political parties has been postponed because of the imposition of a curfew and shoot-at-sight orders by the royal government, an opposition leader said.

Khadga Prasad Oli, deputy leader of the Communist Party of Nepal and a key protest organiser, said the parties would try to hold the protest on Sunday.

The rally was planned as the high point of a four-day nationwide strike, backed by Maoist militants, to pressure the king to give up direct rule.

"It will not take place today. That will be postponed until tomorrow," Oli said.

"We strongly oppose this. The imposition of a curfew is unnecessary, illegal and illogical. There is no ground for this," he added.

But hundreds of protesters were already out on the streets and organisers were trying to send word to them to return, which was difficult because mobile phone service had been cut off since early morning, he said.

The main rally was planned for 2 pm. "We are for today not asking people to defy prohibitory orders," Oli said. "We are afraid for them because they might not know a curfew has been imposed."

He said protests had also been suspended in two towns where fierce clashes took place overnight between communist militants and security forces.

Hundreds of guerrillas attacked security bases late on Friday at Butwal, a town 280 kilometres (175 miles) southwest of Kathmandu, followed by another attack at nearby Taulihawa town around midnight. Details were sketchy.

"We are suspending our agitation there for now. People are in sorrow," Oli said.

First Published: Apr 08, 2006 10:33 IST