Nepalese troops used rubber bullets, tear gas and batons to disperse hundreds of lawyers trying to stage a pro-democracy rally in the capital, Kathmandu Thursday.

Members of the Nepal Bar Association say at least three lawyers were wounded.

The government has banned public gatherings in Kathmandu and surrounding areas.

At least four people have died and hundreds have been wounded in clashes with security forces since pro-democracy rallies began last week. The protesters are demanding an end to King Gyanendra's absolute power and the restoration of multi-party democracy.

The United States has canceled this week's planned visit to Nepal by a Congressional delegation, citing safety concerns.

Earlier, the United States and India urged Nepal's King to initiate talks with political parties as a step toward restoring democracy in the country.

King Gyanendra dismissed the elected government and seized absolute power in February of last year, saying the government had failed to control a violent communist insurgency. Nearly 13,000 people have been killed in the decade-old insurgency.