The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bullets fly, heat on king

Kathmandu, April 11 (Reuters): Nepali troops opened fire on protesters today, wounding several, after they burned tyres, chanted slogans and clashed with police in defiance of a curfew in the sixth day of mass protests against the king.

The violence came as international pressure increased on King Gyanendra to end his crackdown on the protests, in which three people have been killed and hundreds wounded.

The street campaign is the most intense since the 58-year-old monarch sacked the government and seized power 14 months ago.

Some analysts say it is only a matter of time before the king runs out of options. They say the protests and clashes, including in places where shoot-on-sight curfews were in force, showed more ordinary people were coming out openly against him.

But sources close to the palace said the king, whom some analysts describe as a stubborn ruler, was unlikely to relent.

Troops baton-charged and then opened fire to disperse more than 500 slogan-shouting demonstrators in the Kathmandu suburb of Gongabu, wounding at least 50 protesters, a Reuters reporter at the scene said.

It was the first time troops opened fire in the capital during the latest anti-king campaign. Emergency medical workers said several among the 50 wounded had sustained bullet injuries.

The US state department issued a sharp rebuke to the king yesterday for his handling of the protests, saying the decision to impose palace rule had failed “in every regard”. “The king’s continuing failure to bring the parties back into a process to restore democracy has compounded the problem,” spokesman Sean McCormack said in Washington. “The US calls upon the king to restore democracy immediately.”

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