Maoist-led strike paralyses life in Nepal

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A nation-wide general strike called by an alliance led by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist and Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist paralysed normal life across Nepal Tuesday, with several reports of clashes and vandalism.

Schools were shut down, markets were closed, and the general public were forced to walk to reach their destinations due to unavailability of transport facilities.

A large number of security personnel were deployed in Kathmandu and the major cities of Nepal to maintain law and order as there were clashes between those enforcing the strike and rallyists protesting against the strike.

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Demanding a new constitution through political negotiations, compromise and consensus, the alliance announced the general strike Tuesday to pressure the ruling Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) not to impose vote to bring out the draft of the new constitution.

A clash occurred between strike enforcers and police near the Constituent Assembly building after the agitators tried to enter the prohibited area.

Local administration has declared nine sensitive areas of Kathmandu off-limit for any kind of protest, mass meeting and rally.

Media reports suggested that scores of agitators were injured as police used baton-charge to maintain order.

The strike enforcers vandalised a school in Nepaljgunj, a mid-western town, and set fire to a bus in Pokhara, a popular tourist city.

The agitators also vandalised vehicles of the press and a diplomatic mission, besides attacking media persons, photographers and TV crew members who were deployed to cover the the general strike although they claimed that the strike would be peaceful.

Several taxis, buses, scooters and bikes were vandalised, too. Police arrested several agitators from several parts of the country.

A Nepal police spokesperson told to media that it is very difficult to predict the course of the current situation and the overall picture of the damage and losses to property is yet to be obtained.

 

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