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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 17:46 GMT
Ethnic protest shuts down Nepal
By Sushil Sharma
BBC News, Kathmandu

Nepal ethnic protestors
Nepal's minorities are also voicing their demands during the transition
A strike called by indigenous groups seeking a federal system of government has crippled life across Nepal.

Schools and businesses were shut in many places and protesters forced vehicles to stay off the roads. Attendance in many offices was poor.

The government has vowed to meet the ethnic groups' demands, but protesters say they have not been consulted yet.

The ethnic groups want greater rights for their people and an end to what they call upper-caste discrimination.

Talks

The federation of ethnic peoples which organised the strike says provincial governments based on language and caste need to be introduced.

Talks between the government and representatives of the federation failed to make progress on Monday.

The two sides are due to resume the meeting on Friday.

The government had urged the group to withdraw Wednesday's strike.

But the president of the federation of the indigenous people, Pasang Sherpa, insisted that the talks and protests would continue simultaneously.


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