Nepali Times Asian Paints

Maoists withdraw strike

Friday, May 7th, 2010
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The Maoists have withdrawn their indefinite strike following intense international pressure, on the day that Nepal’s professional organisations and businesses staged a mammoth peace rally in Kathmandu and as resistance spread across the country.

The announcement was made after the party’s standing committee meeting on Friday at 9:15, and was announced as breaking news on all TV channels. Cheers were heard going up in neighbourhoods around the capital.

The Maoists have said they have only “postponed” the Tesro Jana Andolan and thanked the “janata” for their support and solidarity.

“Our protest will now take a different nature and we reserve the right to resume the indefinite strike at a later date,”  Pushpa Kamal Dahal told the media. He announced demonstrations on Saturday noon in metros around the country. On Sunday there is a program to encircle Singha Darbar “until the current puppet government steps down”.

It is not yet clear what was the final straw that made the Maoists withdraw the strike, but reports on television of Maoist YCL attacking peace rallies across the country probably convinced the leadership that the strike may be going out of control. There were also indications that the anti-strike citizen’s demonstrations were to spread across the country.

The flurry of diplomatic meetings between Dahal and the diplomatic community on Thursday and Friday may have also contributed. The standing committee met soon after Dahal met ambassadors from Denmark, Switzerland, the United States and India. The Norwegian ambassador had initiated a mediation effort of his own in his residence in Bhaisepati on Thursday evening.

It is also not yet clear what the Maoists will get in return, although there are reports that a “package deal” on integration, constitution and power sharing will be announced Sunday.


Thousands rally for peace

Friday, May 7th, 2010
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Thousands of people gathered in Basantapur Darbar Square on Friday morning for the peace rally organized by various human rights, civil society and professional organisations.

Even though the message of the peace rally was to demand the political parties to resolve their differences, the rally was charged with anger against the banda still being enforced by the Maoists.

During the impromptu march that followed the gathering, there were small skirmishes with the Maoists camped on various road intersections.

On Exhibition Road, the police fired a dozen teargas shells to separate the peace rally participants and the Maoists supporters.

Young Communist League members made a human chain in Sundhara to stop the peace rally from proceeding.

In the morning, Maoist supporters prevented groups of people in Bagbazar and Kupandole from attending the rally, the organisers said. In Kupandole, the situation was tense for a while following a small confrontation between the two groups.

Meanwhile, the United States has asked the Maoists to withdraw the strike which is on its sixth day today. “The Maoist-imposed strike in Nepal is creating serious hardships for the people of Nepal and the risk of dangerous confrontation is growing,” said Robert O. Blake, the US assistant secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, in a statement issued today.

PHOTOS: KIRAN PANDAY AND DAMBAR KRISHNA SHRESTHA



Rally to go on despite threats

Thursday, May 6th, 2010
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Organisers of the Peace Rally scheduled for Friday have received threats of bodily harm, one of the organisers said on the condition of anonymity because of fear of further harm.

The banda-opposing rally, due to be held in Basantapur Darbar Square, was organised jointly by the Federation of National Chamber of Commerce, Professionals’ Alliance for Peace and Democracy and a host of others human rights and civil society organisations.

The organisers are currently holding a meeting in Kathmandu to decide whether to postpone the rally after one of the FNCCI members’ commercial property was vandalised by suspected Maoists.

Earlier on Thursday, YCL leader Kul Bahadur Sonam said his party would retaliate against anyone who dared to oppose the strike. “We will send YCL members to the place on incident, take the opponents in control, and make their names public,” he said.

His statement followed reports of locals up in arms against the banda in various parts of the country.

Update: The peace rally will go ahead as planned, it has been confirmed.


Locals up in arms against banda

Thursday, May 6th, 2010
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Locals opposing the banda have clashed with Maoist supporters in various parts of Kathmandu on Thursday, the fifth day of the indefinite strike called by the Maoists to force the government to step down.

In Budhanilkantha, the police four rounds of teargas  to disperse the crowd after locals clashed with the  Maoist supporters. Maoist cadre have left the scene, a local said.

In Jorpati, five locals were taken to the hospital after they suffered injuries in clashes with the Maoist supporters.

Local residents have also started rallies in Pulchowk, Gongabu and Kirtipur demanding that the banda be st

Youth organisations affiliated with CPN-UML and Nepali Congress have also  led anti-Maoists rallies in various parts of the country.

On Wednesday, Hindu Youth Association led the locals in a rally and set fire to the Maoists’ camping site the city hall in Birgunj, Nagarik’s Upendra Lamichhane has reported.

In Syangja, locals of three wards in Putali Bajaar Municipality have declared them a banda-free zone.


Clashes as protest intensifies

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
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On Tuesday, the Maoist party accused the government of trying to suppress the protests and threatened to intensify the strikes.  On day four of the banda on Wednesday, things are beginning to look pretty tense.

In Butwal, Maoist protesters  captured the municipality office building. After planting the party flag in the building, they told the government officials that they would have to work according to the instructions given by the Maoists.

In Bhaktapur, gunshots were heard during a clash between Maoist protesters and anti-banda protesters led by UML-affiliated Youth Force. The Maoist party claims Youth Force supporters fired the bullets. Youth Force has accused the Maoists of firing. No one was hurt.

In Dhankuta, 15 policemen suffered minor injuries while trying to separate Maoist protestors and Youth Force supporters during the clash. Two protesters were hurt.

A Maoist party member was hurt in Humla during clash between Maoist supporters and the UML and Nepali Congress party members.

UPDATE: The police have taken charge of the municipality office in Butwal captured by the Maoists Wednesday afternoon.


Under the Maoist tent

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
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Thousands of Maoist supporters travelled to the cities to participate in the ongoing strikes. Photographer Foo Chee Chang got a tour of a tent in Pokhara that houses these supporters during their time in the city.

nepal2010_05_02-9928-Edit

Maoist Stike, Nepal, May 2010

Maoist Stike, Nepal, May 2010

Maoist Stike, Nepal, May 2010

Maoist Stike, Nepal, May 2010

Maoist Stike, Nepal, May 2010


Banda, day three

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
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There are no signs of consensus among the three parties yet. On Tuesday evening, Maoist cadre organised a “gherao” program in Kathmandu by forming a human chain in Ring Road to encircle the capital.

There are reports that some Maoist protestors are leaving for their villages to plant crops following the showers in the last couple of days. The government has said it will provide transport to those who want to return to their villages.

Here, we present some pictures from the streets in the Kathmandu on the third day of the indefinite strike. PHOTOS: PRATIK KARKI and KIRAN PANDAY

Maoist Strike, Kathmandu, Nepal, May 2010

3rd day of Maoist Bandh 3

3rd day of Maoist Bandh 4

3rd day of Maoist Bandh 6

Maoist Strike, Kathmandu May 2010

IMaoist Strike, Kathmandu May 2010

Maoist Strike, Kathmandu May 2010

Maoist Strike, Kathmandu May 2010

Maoist Strike, Kathmandu May 2010


 

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