Populist protest as thousands take to the streets in Kathmandu for the return of the monarchy
Police harshly cracked down against the unauthorised demonstration led by businessman Durga Pasai. By exploiting widespread poverty, the anti-system activist wants to restore a Hindu state to “Protect the Nation, Nationalism, Religion and Culture”. Deposed in 2008, the last king, Gyanendra, lives in the capital as an ordinary citizen.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Nepali police yesterday cracked down harshly against thousands of demonstrators during a rally in Kathmandu calling for the restoration of the monarchy abolished 15 years ago.
The “Citizen’s Movement to Protect the Nation, Nationalism, Religion and Culture” claims that the governments in place since the monarchy was abolished, as part of the agreement that ended the Maoist insurgency in 2008, have not kept their commitment to the development of one of the poorest countries in the world.
Yesterday protesters defied the police ban on demonstrations in the centre of the capital, and were subjected to the violent reaction of the police. About a dozen protesters were injured.
The movement for the return of the monarchy was inspired by Durga Pasai, a controversial entrepreneur known for his anti-system posts on Tik Tok, before Nepali authorities banned the video-hosting service on 13 November.
His stated goal is to restore the Hindu monarchy and state, in open opposition to the Maoists. He said that he would continue to fight for this goal and called for a general strike in the capital. Dozens of his supporters were also arrested today.
The 239-year-old monarchy was abolished in 2008 under the terms of an agreement that ended a Maoist insurgency, which killed 17,000 people between 1996 and 2006. In its stead, a federal republic was established.
Since then, the country has been plagued by political instability with more than 10 different administrations holding power; this has held back economic development, forcing millions of young Nepalis to seek work elsewhere, especially in Malaysia, South Korea, and the Middle East.
Former Maoist rebel leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who still goes by the name Prachanda ("Fierce"), is Nepal’s current prime minister, at the helm of a coalition with the centrist Nepali Congress party.
Gyanendra, Nepal’s last king, lives as an ordinary citizen with his family in Kathmandu.