Hundreds arrested in Nepal’s ongoing anti-monarchy protests

Hundreds arrested in Nepal’s ongoing anti-monarchy protests

KATHMANDU, Sept. 13 Kyodo

Hundreds of protesters, including leaders of political parties were held amid ongoing anti-king protests in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu on Tuesday.

Police intervened after pro-democracy activists tried to enter the restricted area of Ratna Park in front of the Narayanhity Royal Palace, official residence of the Nepalese monarch.

The protesters were bundled into waiting police vans and trucks and driven to unknown destinations, witnesses said.

Police said some 250 were rounded up while the organizers gave double that figure for the number of arrests.

Earlier, the protesters marched through the street raising party flags and chanting ”We want Democracy,” and ”No to Autocratic Rule.”

Police chased the protesters when they proclaimed: ”Nepalese monarch is a thief and he should leave the country.”

Nepal’s seven political parties called the protests to press their demand King Gyanendra return the country to civilian rule.

The king has been ruling directly following his dismissal of a multiparty government and seizure of executive powers early this year.

The parties are demanding the king hand power back to the people by restoring the parliament dissolved in May 2002.

No elections have been held in Nepal since.

The king says he seized power last February to put hold on violence triggered by the decade-long communist insurgency.

As to parliament, the monarch claims the parties should seek fresh mandate.

He has announced polls in 58 municipalities across the country to start within the next six months.

But the parties insist the king must first return power to elected representatives or they will boycott the proposed polls.

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