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Nepal parties plan low-key protests to defy ban

Kathmandu, Sept. 3: Exactly 11 months after King Gyanendra sacked elected Prime Minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba and assumed the country’s executive authority, five Opposition parties plan to defy a ban on public protests with a series of rallies tomorrow.

The government had issued prohibitory orders against mass meetings and rallies of any kind for three weeks as street demonstrations could easily be infiltrated by Maoist activists.

This is the seventh phase of the “people’s movement” launched by the political parties in May earlier this year. The parties have demanded the restoration of parliament and the formation of an all-party government.

The demonstrations were planned to be centred in Kathmandu with hundreds of party workers brought into Kathmandu by trucks tomorrow. However, since the government order also extends to a ban on people travelling by trucks, that is not likely to happen. Therefore, the parties have decided to defy the ban with low-key protests. It will begin with a rally in Kathmandu followed by similar protests in the districts the day after.

Former Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa has repeatedly appealed to the parties to end their agitationdue to the renewed fighting by Maoist rebels. He also promised to find a way out of the political crisis through dialogue. According to the newspapers in Kathmandu today, the diplomatic community has been actively involved in trying to get the parties to call of their agitation.

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