News / Asia

Maoists End Crippling General Strike in Nepal, Street Protests to Continue

Faces in the crowd at the peace assembly in Kathmandu, 07 May 2010
Faces in the crowd at the peace assembly in Kathmandu, 07 May 2010

Nepal's former rebels, facing intense domestic and diplomatic pressure, have agreed to "temporarily" halt their six-day strike that crippled commerce throughout the struggling Himalayan nation. But the Maoists say their street protests will continue until their demands are met, including the resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, who enjoys little public support.

Hours after Kathmandu's middle class took to the streets to vent their frustration with the Maoist's indefinite strike, the former rebels gave up - for the time being, at least - that part of their civil disobedience campaign.

Maoist party chairman and previous prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal says, however, that other street action by tens of thousands of cadres and supporters will continue.

Dahal, better known as Prachanda, tells reporters the Maoists, in Kathmandu, will continue to picket and demonstrate around the Singha Durbar (Lion Palace), where most government ministries are located. Protests will also continue, he says, at 75 government headquarters across the country.

Earlier in the day, riot police fired into the air and released tear gas to break up clashes as peace activists marched spontaneously to call for an end to the Maoist's strike. Some injuries were reported.

Before the unplanned peace march, an estimated 20,000 people gathered in the historic Basantapur plaza for an event organized by nearly 50 leading professional organizations, representing a cross-section of mainstream society.

Organizers gave all political parties a 48-hour deadline to settle their differences, threatening to call mass street demonstrations of their own.

Maoist cadres, armed with bamboo sticks, beginning on Sunday patrolled the capital and other cities attempting to ensure shops remained shuttered. Their action also forced the closure of schools and stopped nearly all motorized transport, except for emergency vehicles.

Nepal, as part of a peace accord, faces a May 28 deadline, now seemingly impossible to meet, to write a new constitution and reintegrate former rebel fighters into the Army or society.

The Maoists, in 2006, ended a decade-long civil war against the state and signed a peace agreement. That brought them into the political process and they won the most seats in a parliamentary election two years later. But a dispute over control of the Nepal Army sent the Maoists last year into the opposition camp.

The rising tension during the past week had threatened to plunge Nepal, one of Asia's poorest countries, back towards civil war.  

In the past week in separate VOA interviews, Prime Minister Nepal expressed willingness to resign if the right replacement steps forward and there is political consensus, while the Maoist chairman predicted he would succeed Mr. Nepal.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid