- Title: NEPAL: Situation in Nepal more tense despite thirteen hour curfew
- Date: 11th April 2006
- Summary: (BN14) KATHMANDU, NEPAL (APRIL 09, 2006) (REUTERS) EMPTY STREET ALONG SINGHADURBAR SECRETARIAT (2 SHOTS)
- Embargoed: 26th April 2006 13:00
- Location: Nepal
- Country: Nepal
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAOWXX2JHLCSGFURITG9NM576H
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Pro-democracy campaigners in Nepal vowed to defy a new, day-long curfew in the capital on Sunday (April 9) and hold fresh protests against King Gyanendra's rule.
On Saturday (April 8) soldiers shot dead a protester at a rally in the west of the Himalayan kingdom, enraging activists who have called a four-day anti-monarchy strike that started on Thursday (April 6).
Nepal's seven main political parties, which have been leading the pro-democracy campaign, had planed a big demonstration against the king in Kathmandu on Saturday but tough security meant that only a handful of small protests could be held in brief defiance of a curfew.
The royalist government announced another 11-hour curfew starting 7 a.m. (0115 GMT) on Sunday and mobile phone services remained disrupted in a measure seen aimed at scuttling demonstrations.
An hour before the curfew began, about a dozen men carrying political party flags gathered at a main street in an upmarket Kathmandu residential area, burned tyres on the road and shouted "Long Live Democratic Republic".
Security remained tight with soldiers and armed police patrolling the streets and armoured personnel carriers mounted with heavy machine guns stationed at some intersections.
The Home Ministry warned people against stepping out.
"If anyone comes out of their houses and compounds in defiance of the curfew, the security personnel will first give a warning and stop the person," it said in a statement.
"However, if the person does not heed to the warning and does not stop, the security personnel can even shoot the person," it said.
Protests were also expected in major towns across the country where curfew has not been imposed.
Soldiers opened fire on one such protest involving thousands in the western tourist resort town of Pokhara on Saturday, killing one man. The army said it opened fire in self defence when a mob tried to attack a telephone office.
Saturday was the 16th anniversary of the start of multi-party democracy in the world's only Hindu kingdom, sandwiched between Asian giants India and China.
Nepal, which has been battling a bloody Maoist revolt for a decade, was pushed deeper into turmoil after King Gyanendra grabbed power in February 2005, saying political parties had failed to crush the rebellion.
While much of the poor country has remained shut down due to the general strike, the king has been away from Kathmandu, touring the districts for nearly two months now.
The rebels are for the first time supporting the campaign by the political parties as part of a loose alliance formed in November and have declared a ceasefire in and around Kathmandu.
A top U.N. human rights official expressed "grave concern" at what he said was the use of excessive force against rallies.
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