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Nepalese Police Fire on Protesters During Nationwide Strike


Witnesses in Nepal say police have opened fire on a protest rally against King Gyanendra in the west of the country, wounding at least one person.

They say the incident took place Thursday in the town of Pokhara, as police tried to disperse the demonstrators.

The protest coincided with a nationwide strike called by opposition parties to protest the king's plan for municipal elections.

The streets of the capital, Kathmandu, were deserted, and schools and businesses were closed around the country. Riot police were patrolling to prevent the violence that has accompanied previous strikes.

The strike is aimed at stopping candidates from registering for February 8 elections, a process that began today. Only a few candidates filed their nominations in Kathmandu in the first few hours.

The alliance of seven opposition groups says it will boycott the vote, because it would legitimize the king's absolute rule.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.