Tens of thousands of opposition supporters protest in Nepal
KATHMANDU, (AP): Tens of thousands of opposition supporters gathered in Nepal’s capital on Saturday to protest the government’s plan to push through a new constitution with a vote in parliament, with some clashing with police.
The alliance of 30 opposition parties is demanding the constitution draft be passed by a national consensus.
The first attempt by the government to bring the draft to a vote was blocked by the opposition last month when they broke chairs and desks, attacked the parliamentary speaker and scuffled with security guards inside parliament.
On Saturday, the opposition, which had been threatening street protests, brought about 30,000 protesters to Kathmandu. Several rallies started in different parts of the city and merged at the Tudikhel grounds, where political rallies are generally held.
The protesters waved their party flags, held banners and chanted anti-government slogans. Security had been stepped up, with riot police stationed in main parts of the city.
A group of protesters scuffled with riot police when then attempted to enter an area where protests were prohibited. Police fired tear gas, and several protesters were hit with batons.
A constitution was supposed to have been written by the Constituent Assembly that was elected in 2008 following the end of a 10-year Maoist insurgency and the overthrow of the centuries-old monarchy. But the assembly was riven by infighting and never finished its work.
The current assembly was chosen in 2013, but has faced the same problem.
:: An activist rises above the crowd to clap during an anti-government mass meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal on Feb 28, 2015. Protesters and police clashed in Kathmandu on Saturday at a demonstration by some 30,000 people led by the Maoist opposition to demand that political parties reach a consensus on a new constitution, in the biggest street march in Nepal in years.PHOTO: EPA