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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 May, 2003, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
Violence mars Nepal protest
Police and protesters in Kathmandu
Thousands of protesters clashed with police

At least 20 people have been injured during protests in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu.

Police baton-charged the demonstrators ahead of a proposed meeting of former MPs from five opposition parties of the dissolved parliament.

The meeting is part of an ongoing joint protest against King Gyanendra's assumption of executive powers in October last year.

About 5,000 people were involved in the demonstration.

The demonstrators were injured when the police tried to stop them from proceeding towards the parliament building in Kathmandu.

Five of the six parliamentary parties including the two largest, the centrist Nepali Congress and the left-wing United Marxist-Leninist (UML), had planned to convene a meeting in the parliament building to adopt a resolution against the king.

The former MPs later held the meeting in the nearby Royal Nepal Academy.

Combined strength

The parties had a combined strength of more than two-thirds in the 205 member parliament that was dissolved last year following a political crisis.

The meeting does not have legal significance, but it has been seen as a politically symbolic move.

The parties have been protesting at King Gyanendra's assumption of executive powers last year, after he sacked the elected government and installed own administration.

The parties dubbed the royal move unconstitutional and regressive.

They have demanded that the king should either re-instate the parliament or constitute an all-party government.

King Gyanendra has repeatedly vowed to remain a constitutional monarch in a multi party democracy.

But the parties fear the return of executive monarchy that existed for 30 years until a pro-democracy movement, in 1990.


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