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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 May, 2004, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Thousands support Nepal protest
By Sushil Sharma
BBC correspondent in Kathmandu

Anti-king protest held on April 23 in Kathmandu, despite official ban
Demonstrations continued throughout April despite an official ban
Thousands of people have attended a rally against King Gyanendra in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu.

The rally was part of a long-running series of protests against the monarch following his assumption of executive powers in 2002.

It was the first to be held after the government lifted a ban on political rallies on Monday.

The police did not intervene or make any arrests during the demonstration, one of the biggest in recent weeks.

Slogans

An estimated crowd of 10,000 people gathered at Ratna Park, near the king's palace, shouting slogans to press for the restoration of a democratic regime.

Top opposition leaders addressed the demonstration.

The event took place a day after the government lifted a ban on political rallies. The ban was imposed on 8 April, but had been largely ignored.

There have been thousands of arrests in the intervening period, though those arrested have been released.

It is thought crisis talks between the king and top opposition leaders may be imminent now the ban has been lifted.

Opposition parties say King Gyanendra acted unconstitutionally when he sacked the elected government in 2002 and assumed executive powers.

They have refused to recognise the prime ministers the king has appointed since then.

The parties have been insisting on the reinstatement of parliament.


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