Mass uprising shakes Nepal’s royal regime
Published Apr 14, 2006 8:38 PM
Popular forces in Nepal have stepped up their
campaign to overthrow the government of King Gyanendra and end the monarchy. The
revolutionary forces, led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [CPN(M)], and
the opposition parties launched a new wave of coordinated resistance and
Katmandu, Nepal, April 11.
A four-day general strike began April 6, called by the
opposition parties—a coalition of seven parties that oppose the
king—and backed by the revolutionary forces. The CPN(M) and opposition
parties reached a 12-point agreement in late December that calls for allied
actions to end autocratic monarchy and bring about fair elections to a
constituent assembly. The demonstrations have been called to challenge
Gyanendra’s assumption of dictatorial powers 14 months ago.
Gyanendra’s forces quickly moved to violently quell the
demonstrations, even though the CPN(M) initially declared a ceasefire in
Nepal’s capital, Katmandu, to ensure that its activities would not be used
as an excuse for the government to violate the rights of the protesting people.
Plainclothes police officers had arrested hundreds of political leaders
before the strike began. Over 400 additional people were detained on the first
day of the strike. The Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) and police forces have turned
to increasingly violent measures as thousands of workers, students and
professionals poured into the streets in defiance of the government’s
Government forces repeatedly fired on protesters, leaving
four dead and dozens seriously injured. In Bharatpur, police shot dead a woman
who was simply observing the protests from the balcony of her home. A protester
in Banepa was killed when police fired on a crowd demonstrating against an
The United Nations Human Rights Office in Nepal has
criticized the government and expressed “grave concern” over its
violent tactics. Even the U.S. and British imperialists, who want a stable
government in order to more effectively beat back the revolutionary forces, are
now publicly distancing themselves from the king.
government has threatened to get “stricter” with the protesters by
imposing extended curfews and granting its police forces shoot-to-kill orders.
Protesters fight back
The demonstrations have grown more
militant as protesters attempt to protect themselves from violence at the hands
of the RNA and police. “Burn the crown” is the new slogan in
Protesters have taken to setting up barricades of burning tires
and throwing bricks when the police attempt to charge the crowds with batons and
In some areas the demonstrators have expressed their anger
by occupying government offices in protest of the killings.
stormed a hospital in Pokhara to demand the body of a slain demonstrator.
The opposition party leadership has called for an indefinite extension of
the strike. As one unnamed demonstrator put it, “We are not afraid of
bullets. We have to get democracy at any cost and we will get
CPN(M) intensifies offensive outside Katmandu
top two leaders of the CPN(M)—Chairman Pranchada and Chief of Foreign
Relations Baburam Bhattari—issued a statement promising that their
party’s armed wing, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), would take
control of roads throughout the country in support of the general strike and
destroy all royal statues and signs that refer to “His Majesty’s Gov
ernment.” The statement also announced a new campaign to stop businesses
from paying taxes to the royal government.
In solidarity with the
struggles in the cities and in defense of the unarmed protes ters, the
revolutionary forces have inten sified the armed offensive throughout the
countryside. On April 6 the PLA launch ed simultaneous attacks on all government
agencies in Malangawa. Over 100 prisoners were freed when the PLA overran the
district prison. A night-vision helicopter sent to reinforce government troops
was reportedly shot down by the PLA.
On April 7 the PLA launched
simultaneous attacks on government installations in Butwal and Kapilvastu,
freeing 110 inmates from an area prison. Bombs destroyed several police posts,
RNA barracks and other government buildings. Thousands of PLA soldiers
reportedly participated in the armed actions.
The monarchy’s state
apparatus has been severely shaken by the revolutionary military offensive and
the coordinated general strike across the country.
Anger against the
government’s use of violence to repress the revolutionary movement is
evident in the massive nature of both the demonstrations and the revolutionary
As Lok Raj Baral, head of the Nepal Center for
Contemporary Studies, recentl y stated, “If the movement goes ahead like
this, the inevitable will happen very soon. The anger everywhere is against the
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