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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
'Officials held' in Nepal protest
Police remove burning tyres in Nepal
There have been days of street protests in Nepal
Police in Nepal have arrested 25 civil servants for demonstrating against King Gyanendra inside the Home Ministry, officials say.

The ministry controls the police, who have been deployed in large numbers to counter growing anti-monarchy protests.

Dozens more arrests were made on Tuesday, the 13th day of an opposition national strike. Tens of thousands rallied in the town of Nepalganj.

An Indian envoy is due in Nepal on Wednesday with a message for the king.

The situation in Nepal seems to be spinning out of control
Indian envoy Karan Singh

Opposition parties have led the campaign for a return to democratic government since King Gyanendra seized absolute power in February 2005.

In recent days, the protests have snowballed across the kingdom, with people across Nepali society joining in.

The BBC's Charles Haviland in Kathmandu says diplomats there have been quoted as saying that if King Gyanendra does not make some major political concessions soon he could be in serious trouble.

Curfew

Protests continued on Tuesday - although heavy rain reduced the numbers of demonstrators on the streets of the capital.

HAVE YOUR SAY
The current "peaceful" protest is sarcastic with such vandalisms and destructions ongoing
Atit Shrestha, Kathmandu, Nepal

Reports say one woman bystander was injured by police firing rubber bullets at people vandalising a motorcycle in Kathmandu.

Among those detained at the Home Ministry were four high-ranking officials.

It was the first time civil servants had been arrested for joining opposition protests against the king, although many have taken part in demonstrations across Nepal.

Supreme Court staff also joined the protest against the king on Monday.

The rally in the western town of Nepalganj is said to have been its biggest ever. Witnesses said 20,000-50,000 attended.

In the resort town of Pokhara, where our correspondent says residents are deeply defiant after police shot dead a demonstrator, a daylight curfew will be back in force on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, more than 30 opposition leaders and activists have been freed on Supreme Court orders.

'Chaos'

India's special envoy Karan Singh says Delhi is concerned that the situation in Nepal is deteriorating rapidly.

"It is not our intention to interfere in the internal affairs of another country but the last thing that we would want is for Nepal to dissolve into chaos," he told the Indian channel NDTV.

Mr Singh, a former ambassador to the United States, is said to have good relations with the Nepali royal palace.

The nationwide shutdown called by the opposition is continuing to drive up food prices and create shortages, mainly because most long distance transport is not running.

Kathmandu residents have been telling the BBC they can no longer get hold of kerosene and that salt has doubled in price.

But ministers say they have good stocks which are being made available and reports say a convoy of trucks with essential goods entered the capital with military protection.


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See clashes between protesters and security forces



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