Sunday, April 16, 2006

Nepal: Protests Continue, Food Shortages begin

The situation in Nepal continues to be dire. Protests continue to rock the small Himalayan country as demonstrators find the King's few promises a fraud. One protest of 200 journalists for free press led to the beating of some of them, which has been seen in basically all protests [Al Jazeera]. A similar protest by lawyers for constitutional reign of law led to a break up of the protest by teargas and M16 fire [Guardian]. Due to the protests and a general strike that have lasted eleven days now, Nepal is starting to experience food and other product shortages. One demonstrator on the street said "We thought democracy was for politicians, but we made a mistake" [Al Jazeera].

There has been some condemnation around the world about the Nepalese Monarchy. However, most comes from human rights organizations such as Amnesty International. The United Nations has also issued condemnation of the situation. Nepal despite the brutal crackdown on its own people happens to be the fifth largest contributor to UN peacekeepers. Countries like Canada and the United States have barely mentioned the situation there, despite their stated commitment to democracy. Perhaps the lack of important economic resources in the country has something to do with it. Sadly the United States won't even recognize the Maoists despite they being the second largest party and calling for democracy as well. The CIA classifies the Maoists a terrorist group and therefore not to be dealt with.

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