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Thousands March in Pro-Democracy Rallies in Nepal

Workers from different trade unions shout slogans during a rally in Katmandu
Thousands of people have marched through the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, in the biggest pro-democracy rallies since King Gyanendra seized absolute power three months ago.

Sunday's demonstrations were organized by the unions. Participants carried banners calling for an end to the king's direct rule and restoration of democracy. Riot police watched the protests but did not intervene.

The Nepalese monarch lifted the three-month state of emergency Saturday. But he still rules without an elected government or parliament, most civil liberties are suspended, and hundred of political activists remain jailed.

King Gyanendra said he felt necessary to act because the government failed to put down a Maoist insurgency that has claimed more than 11,000 lives since 1996.

The Maoists are fighting to replace the constitutional monarchy with a communist state.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.