Thursday, April 13, 2006

Nepal: Protests Continue Against Monarchy

The small Asian country of Nepal has a rich and long history. It was three small states when in 1768 after war it became a unified country. Squished on Himalayans mountaintops between the two giants China and India. The country only got a democratic parliament in 1991 when the Monarchy was forced to become constitutional. In 1996 a Maoist party started pushing for the change to a Communist system of governance. Their presence as led to a low grade civil war. In 2001 however, the crowned Prince Dipendra went on a murderous rampage killing many people in the palace as well as himself. The late king's brother Gyanendra took the throne and last year dissolved the government and clamped down with absolute power.

Since then there has been many clashes as both the Maoists and Democrats are challenging the king's rule and wish for democracy. The main demands of the Maoists are women's rights, economic equality, and the absolution of the Monarchy [AFP]. In the past week pro-democracy protests have rocked the entire country despite curfews placed by the government. Reporters Without Borders has reported that 94 reporters have been arrested in the past week and 24 have been arrested. Nepalese protesters are also being shot at by riot cops and some have been killed and many more wounded [Al Jazeera]. The situation in Nepal is only getting worse as the King only clamps down with more control.

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