Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, witnessed clashes between riot police and protesters on Monday, calling for the return of the monarchy.
Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, saw clashes between riot police and hundreds of protesters on Monday, demanding the return of the monarchy abolished in 2008 after a 10-year Maoist armed rebellion ended two years ago.
Police blocked the main road leading to the prime minister’s office in the capital, using batons to beat the protesters, who responded by throwing stones and sticks.
No serious injuries were reported.
It was the latest in a series of protests against the government of Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli by various groups, including a faction of his ruling Communist Nepalese Party.
The unrest, fueled by Oli’s inability to honor an agreement to split his tenure as prime minister with the co-leader of the ruling party, has heightened distrust of the political system.
Protesters on Monday accused the government of corruption and the use of force against peaceful gatherings.
“King, come back and save our country. We want the monarchy to come back, to abolish the republic, ”chanted the demonstrators, waving the country’s flag.
Weeks of street protests in 2006 forced King Gyanendra to abandon his authoritarian rule and establish democracy.
Two years later, a newly elected parliament voted to abolish the monarchy and declared Nepal a republic with a president as the head of state.
Since then, Gyanendra has lived in Nepal as a private citizen with no power or state protection.
He still has some support among the people but little chance of returning to power.
Protesters, who were celebrating the birthday of the late King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who formed present-day Nepal centuries ago, also called for Nepal to be declared a Hindu state again. The Himalayan nation was declared secular in 2007 by the interim constitution after the Maoists joined mainstream politics in 2006. The secular status was ratified by the new constitution in 2015.
Oli became prime minister after his Communist Party won the elections three years ago. His party and the party of the former Maoist rebels had merged to form a unified Communist Party before the 2017 vote.
Tensions, however, have increased between Oli and former rebel leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is co-chair of the combined party.
The two had previously agreed to split the prime minister’s five-year tenure between themselves, but Oli refused to allow Dahal to take over.
Instead, Oli ordered the dissolution of parliament last month and announced new elections later this year.
The dissolution of Parliament was protested by Dahal’s faction and by opposition groups. The decision is challenged in the Supreme Court.