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30,000 Protest Government's Plan on Constitution in Nepal

  • VOA News

A party flag flutters as various opposition party members listen to a leader during a protest led by Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist in Kathmandu, Nepal, Feb. 28, 2015.

A party flag flutters as various opposition party members listen to a leader during a protest led by Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist in Kathmandu, Nepal, Feb. 28, 2015.

Demonstrators and police in Nepal's capital clashed Saturday as 30,000 opposition supporters gathered to protest the government's plan to have parliament vote on a new constitution.

An alliance of 30 opposition parties is demanding that the constitution draft be passed by national consensus. Several rallies began Saturday in different parts of Kathmandu, and they merged at the Tudikhel cricket ground.

One group of protesters scuffled with riot police when members tried to enter an area where protests were prohibited. Police fired tear gas, and they struck several protesters with batons to try to stop them from getting near the parliament building. Witnesses reported that more than a dozen people were injured.

A 10-year civil war in Nepal between government forces and Maoist rebels ended in 2006, with the death toll topping 17,000. The nation's political parties have struggled since then to write a consititution.

The dispute centers on the creation of provinces based on ethnicity, a concept that the former rebels supported. The ruling center-left alliance says creating areas along ethnic lines could trigger tensions.

Opposition forces have stopped negotiating because they oppose the government's effort to use its parliamentary strength to secure approval of the constitution.

Some information for this report came from AP.

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