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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 May, 2005, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
Opposition protests around Nepal
By Bhagirath Yogi
BBC News, Kathmandu

Protest in Kathmandu in March
Police have dealt firmly with previous protests
Thousands of opposition activists have taken part in demonstrations in Nepal against King Gyanendra's 1 February royal takeover.

Organisers said the demonstrations were largely peaceful with the police intervening in a couple of places.

Protesters want the reinstatement of the dissolved parliament and the formation of an all-party government.

The king sacked the elected government because he said it had failed to deal with Nepal's Maoist rebels.

Civil rights call

Sunday's protests were organised jointly by seven opposition political parties.

At least 4,000 activists belonging to the main opposition parties - including the Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) - turned up in the busy Ason business district in the capital, Kathmandu, carrying party flags.

They shouted slogans against the royal takeover and demanded the restoration of democracy and civil rights in the country.

Thousands of others marched on to the streets of main cities across the country including Biratnagar, Janakpur and Pokhara.

The organisers said demonstrations were largely peaceful.

The CPN (UML) said a police baton charge in Hetauda left one dozen opposition activists injured.

The party said police had detained nearly two dozen activists, including a member of the upper house of the parliament.

The opposition parties argue that an all-party government would create an environment for holding peace negotiations with the Maoist insurgents.

There has been no official response from the royal government towards the opposition demands as yet.

Some of the members in the royal council of ministers have termed the opposition protests "unwarranted" and have asked the opposition to support the king to restore law and order in the country.

But opposition leaders say restoration of peace is not possible unless people's democratic rights are restored first.


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