Over 450 pro-democracy agitators detained | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Over 450 pro-democracy agitators detained

PTI | ByShirish B Pradhan (Press Trust of India), Kathmandu
May 09, 2004 08:14 PM IST

More than 450 pro-democracy activists were rounded up by riot police as agitators demanded dismissal of the King's government.

More than 450 pro-democracy activists were rounded up by Nepalese riot police today as thousands of agitators marched through the streets of Kathmandu, demanding dismissal of the King-appointed government.

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The agitators marched through Kathmandu's main market New Road and Ratnapark on the 28th day of the joint agitation launched by five political parties.

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Police detained over 300 agitators from New Road, as they defied the government's ban on all types of protest shows and rallies.

Waving their party flags, the protestors shouted slogans like "Down with autocratic King", "Restore democratic rights", "Long live democracy" and "Reactivate constitutional process"

Nepali Congress general secretary Shushil Koirala, Nepal Communist Party-UML central member Pradip Gyawali and Janamorcha Nepal Vice-chairman Lilamani Pokhrel led today's rally and sit-in, which were peaceful.

Nepal Hotel and Restaurant Entrepreneurs' Associations also took out separate demonstrations in Kathmandu expressing solidarity with the five-party agitation. Police detained some 150 hotel and restaurant owners who took part in the demonstrations.

Students also clashed with the riot police in front of Padmakanya Campus and Amrit Science Campus after blocking roads and restricting movement of government number-plate vehicles. The agitators also burnt effigies of regression symbolizing the Royal takeover of October 2002.

The agitating students recently held mock referendums in five campuses, including Prithvinarayan Campus of Pokhara and Pashupati Campus of Kathmandu, to decide the future of monarchy in Nepal.

The students overwhelmingly favoured Republican democracy with 90 per cent of their votes going against monarchy, according to CPN-UML.

They were given three options: republican system, constitutional monarchy and absolute monarchy, in which less than one per cent favoured absolute monarchy.

The mock elections were organised at the initiatives of the seven student organisations affiliated to the five agitating parties.

King Gyanendra yesterday continued consultations with his loyalists at the Royal palace. Those who met the King included former Prime Ministers Lokendra Bahadur Chand, Kirtinidhi Bista and Marichman Singh.

However, the leaders of the five agitating parties did not meet the King. They have set pre-conditions that the King must set clear agenda for dialogue and assure that the talks would be result-oriented.

They also demanded lifting of ban on protest shows and public meetings in Kathmandu before participating in the dialogue with the King.

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