[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Sunday, 23 April 2006, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Nepal police hold back protesters
A policeman pulls away a burning tyre set alight by protesters
Troops and police were out in force in Kathmandu
Nepalese police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets at anti-monarchy protesters trying to reach central Kathmandu in defiance of a curfew.

Thousands of protesters chanted slogans against King Gyanendra's rule and vowed to march into the heart of the city.

But security forces blocked streets with barbed wire and used batons to drive the protesters back.

The crowds were smaller than Saturday, when some 100,000 people defied a curfew to storm into the city centre.

While some districts of Kathmandu saw little trouble on Sunday, clashes in different areas left at least 23 people injured, hospital officials said.

Kathmandu teacher Kamala Parajuli explains why she is among the protesters

Thousands of people massed on Kathmandu's ring road, determined to get into the heart of the capital but were beaten back by police.

On Saturday, thousands had managed to march to within one kilometre (half a mile) of the king's palace.

The mobile phone network remained cut off on Sunday, possibly hindering opposition attempts to mobilise the protests.

The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Kathmandu says that the protest movement seemed to lack clear leadership and that demonstrators were unsure what to do next.

However, activists said that a major rally was planned for Tuesday, with party leaders vowing to take to the streets themselves for the first time.

People's demands

Protests have been building for more than two weeks against King Gyanendra, who sacked his government and assumed direct powers in February 2005.

OPPOSITION DEMANDS
Recall of parliament
Election of constituent assembly to write constitution
New constitution to decide monarchy's role

Observers say that a movement which aimed at the restoration of democracy now seems to be aiming, for some people at least, at the toppling of the monarchy.

"We will burn the crown and we will run the country," the crowds chanted as armed police and soldiers looked on, under orders to shoot if people broke through the cordon.

"We will move ahead until we establish a democratic republic. We will make it a model of peaceful revolution," a member of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) told Reuters.

The seven-party opposition alliance are calling for a totally new constitution formed by a popular elected assembly which will also decide the future of the monarchy.

HAVE YOUR SAY
There is a time to be peaceful and a time to fight
Jason Ruprich, Denver, United States

King Gyanendra announced on Friday that he intended to restore power to the people.

He called on opposition parties to put forward their candidate for prime minister.

But after meeting on Saturday, the opposition alliance rejected the king's offer as "meaningless and inappropriate".

Nepal's Maoist rebels have also joined protesters in rejecting King Gyanendra's democracy plan.

"The sea of people on the streets proves that the Nepali people want to get rid of the feudal regime forever," they said in a statement.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the protests in Kathmandu



RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific