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Maoists announce indefinite strike

Monday, April 26th, 2010

The Maoist Party has announced indefinite national strike from 2 May “for peace and constitution.” Nagarik writes:

During a press conference, attended by leaders from the Central Committee, Maoist Chairman Dahal said he would be open to dialogue during the protests. He said the strike should be seen as the third Jana-andolan and said all industries, education institutes and transportation would be shut down. Dahal said protests would be peaceful.

Earlier, envoys from European Union countries met with the Maoist chairman to express concern over the rising political tension in the country. From Republica:

The European Union ambassadors of Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom along with the visiting EU delegation met with Chairman of the UCPN (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal ´Prachanda´ and his deputy Dr. Baburam Bhattarai Monday.

During the meeting the envoys expressed concern at the lack of progress in the peace process and at the heightened political tensions in the country. A press statement issued by the EU office in Nepal said that the ambassadors asked the chairman to show flexibility and make concessions in order to avoid a crisis.

The statement also said that the ambassadors expressed their deep concern at the demonstration planned for May 1 and at the possible impact on the economy and tourism from the strike announced for May 2.

On Sunday, Nepal Police confiscated 600 sticks, which it said were being transported to Kathmandu by the Maoists for the rally planned for 1 May.

Meanwhile, privately-owned schools were closed for the second day today due a strike called by the Maoist Party’s student wing. The Kathmandu Post writes:

ANNISU-R has called the nationwide closure of private schools to put pressure on these schools to revoke their decision to hike fees.

However, neither the private schools nor the protesters have shown any sign of coming to an agreement.

Private and Boarding Schools’ Organisation Nepal (PABSON) and Nepal Private and Boarding Schools’ Organisation, Nepal (NPABSON) have said they would not bow down to pressure.

PABSON has claimed that it increased fees by 15 to 35 percent while N-PABSON said it was ready to review the current fees under a scientific study plan. Gita Rana of N-PABSON said talks with member schools were underway. “We have no problem reviewing the fees,” she said.

ANNISU-R General Secretary Himal Sharma said the “closure of schools would continue if the schools did not roll back the fee hike.”

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