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Police, Protesters Clash in Nepal as Demonstrations Enter 18th Day

Nepalese police have fired rubber bullets and tear-gas in clashes with protesters in the capital Kathmandu during the 18th straight day of demonstrations against the government of King Gyanendra. At least two people have been injured.

As protesters threw stones at them, about 25 police knelt on the ground behind plastic shields. Then, wielding bamboo sticks, the police charged the demonstrators.

Similar clashes were repeated throughout the day along the ring road encircling Nepal's capital, Kathmandu. Police also fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators who were marching in defiance of a day-long curfew.

It is the 18th straight day of protests. Demonstrators are rejecting an offer made Friday by King Gyanendra to form an interim government. They, along with leaders of seven main opposition parties, say they do not trust the offer, and want parliament reinstated.

King Gyanendra seized control of the government last year, because he said the political parties had failed to bring stability to the country or end a 10-year-old communist insurgency.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of the capital in a wave of anti-government demonstrations, the largest since King Gyanendra took control of government last February.

The demonstrations are organized in part by the Seven Party Alliance, a coalition of opposition parties forced out of government when the king dismissed parliament.

The alliance rejected the kings offer to form an interim government, and said the demonstrations would continue. They have not set out a specific agenda for what they will do next.

But local media report opposition leaders are debating whether they should reinstate parliament themselves, thereby setting up their own government to run parallel to that of King Gyanendra.

Protesting Sunday was S.M. Dixit, a 64 year-old physician who supports that idea.

"It is the right of the people, the democratic right of the people to form a parallel government. Because we do not accept this government. We never accepted this government. We have a right to form our own government and that government must come out whether the king wants it or not," he said.

Analysts say it is also possible King Gyanedra could declare a state of emergency, giving increased powers to security forces, if the unrest continues.

Saturday, police fired tear gas and beat demonstrators with sticks to prevent them from approaching the royal palace in the center of Kathmandu. Protesters did not try to approach the palace Sunday.