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Thousands of Protesters Call for Nepal King to Restore Democracy

Patricia NunanKate Pound Dawson

Tens of thousands of protesters covered the main road surrounding Kathmandu, demanding that Nepal's King Gyanendra give up the control of the government, which he seized more than a year ago. Friday's protests were largely peaceful, although at least 12 people have died in more than two weeks of demonstrations calling for the restoration of democracy. VOA's Patricia Nunan is in Kathmandu and spoke with editor Kate Pound Dawson in Hong Kong.

DAWSON: Patricia, can you tell me where you are in Kathmandu?

NUNAN: I'm in an area called Kalanki, which is right on the ring road on the outskirts of Kathmandu. This is the spot where some protesters were killed yesterday. But what is happened today is the police have been retreating steadily. The ring road was prohibited yesterday, protesters weren't supposed to be on it, which is what brought about the confrontation. Today they've (police) given way and they've let the protesters just join each other, linking up several arms of the ring road.

DAWSON: How many people are estimated to be out there?

NUNAN: It is very difficult to tell, but I wouldn't be surprised if we got over a hundred thousand. It is absolutely packed out here. The crowds are huge, they go on for kilometers and kilometers.

DAWSON: Is there any sense that the king today will make any announcement about changes in the government?

NUNAN: I haven't heard anything substantive. We heard some reports on local TV that he has talked about restoring parliament, but it wasn't considered to be a substantive enough proposal. But again, we haven't heard anything official.

 

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