Sunday, April 09, 2006

Nepal, Zone of Peace, 2


KATHMANDU, April 9 (Reuters) - Thousands of angry Nepalis tried to storm a state hospital on Sunday, burned government vehicles and clashed with riot police despite a curfew aimed at stopping pro-democracy rallies.

A woman, wounded in police firing in a town south of the capital Kathmandu, died on Sunday, a doctor said.

Three people, including the woman, were wounded at Narayanghat, about 150 km (95 miles) from Kathmandu, when troops fired at protesters demanding King Gyanendra end his absolute rule.

"She died this morning," Bhojraj Adhikary, a doctor at a local hospital, told Reuters by phone.

It was the second death in shooting by government forces on protesters during a four-day anti-monarchy strike across the poor Himalayan kingdom that started on Thursday.

Tension was rising in Narayanghat, witnesses said, adding that a curfew had not stopped people from coming out on the streets.

In the western tourist resort town of Pokhara, thousands of people tried to storm a state hospital where the body of a man shot dead by troops on Saturday was taken, witnesses said.

The crowd burned some security posts in the area and clashed with riot police who tried to stop them for violating a curfew.

"Thousands of people are out on the streets. There is high tension here," said Keshav Lamichhane, a local journalist.
The late King Birendra first declared Nepal to be a "Zone of Peace." In 1991, Birendra responded to a people's revolution marked by massive peaceful protests, and established a constitutional monarchy and democracy in Nepal. In fact, Nepal became the first country democratically to elect a Marxist-Leninist government; in a subsequent election, it was the first Marxist-Leninist government democratically to be thrown out.

The current king, Gyanendra, came to the throne through a violent series of carefully orchestrated events. Last year, he seized power and overthrew democracy. With luck, Gyanendra will be overthrown and democracy re-established.

More here.


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