Massive Maoist demonstration against government and police
Kathmandu (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Tens of thousands of Maoists have invaded the streets of Kathmandu, clashing with the police, to challenge the coalition government and its slowness in giving employment to former guerrillas. The event began today and runs until tomorrow and the Maoists are hoping to gather up to 300 thousand people.
At least 2 thousand policemen with tear gas and batons, sought to defend the seat of government from the assault of the demonstrators. Among them there is also the former Maoist leader and former Prime Minister Prachanda, who resigned last May.
The tug of war between the Maoists and the government is caused by the slowness with which the army has absorbed former Maoist rebels in its ranks.
In 2006, after ten years of armed struggle, the Maoist guerrillas agreed with the "seven parties" of the old regime to eliminate the monarchy and establish a Constituent Assembly. The agreements signed under the aegis of the UN involved disarmament and reintegration of fighters into the ranks of the army. In 2008, led by their leader Prachanda, the Maoists won the election. But President Ram Baran Yadav, fearful of the power of the Maoists, has refused so far to integrate all the former rebel army. Because of the slowness of the restoration, in May Prachanda replaced general Rukmangat Katwal, chief of the army. But the president - who is head of the armed forces – removed him from the post. Because of this, on May 4 Prachanda stepped down, opening a deep political crisis that is also having economic repercussions.
The UN says there are signs of great instability in the country. To date, over 19 thousand former Maoist guerrillas are waiting to be reintegrated in society.