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Last Updated: Monday, 26 April, 2004, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Nepal releases opposition leaders
Protesters in Kathmandu
The protesters want the king to reinstate parliament
The Nepalese government has released 29 opposition leaders and members arrested two weeks ago after a demonstration against King Gyanendra in Kathmandu.

Thousands of people have been held under a ban on political rallies, imposed a week after daily opposition protests began on 1 April.

The government said the rallies had been infiltrated by Maoist rebels.

However, it announced on Saturday that the ban would be lifted in parts of the capital.

Opposition party leaders on Friday confirmed that they had turned down an invitation for meetings with King Gyanendra.

There had been widespread speculation he might be seriously considering their demand for an all-party government.

However, they said he must release the detainees and dismiss the current government he appointed first.

Opposition leaders want the king to reinstate the legislature, which he suspended in 2002.

The BBC's Charles Haviland
"The Monarch is now seeking meetings with the party leaders"

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