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Nepal pro-monarchy demonstrators clash with police

Security personnel use water cannons and fire tear gas shells to vacate demonstrators from restricted zone
Supporters of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) waving their party flag shout slogans during a protest to demand the restoration of monarchy and the status of a Hindu state in the Himalayan nation, along a street in Kathmandu on April 9.

Supporters of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) waving their party flag shout slogans during a protest to demand the restoration of monarchy and the status of a Hindu state in the Himalayan nation, along a street in Kathmandu on April 9. (Photo: AFP)

Published: April 10, 2024 05:35 AM GMT
Updated: April 10, 2024 05:40 AM GMT

Nepali police on April 9 fired tear gas and water cannons as thousands marched in the capital Kathmandu demanding the restoration of a constitutional monarchy and a Hindu state.

The Hindu-majority nation became a secular republic with a federal system in 2008 after parliament abolished the monarchy as part of a peace deal that ended a decade-long civil war in which more than 16,000 people were killed.

"Restoration of the monarchy, a Hindu nation, and abolishing the federal system are our demands," said Mohan Shrestha, spokesman for the Rastriya Prajatantra Party which organized the demonstration. It is the fifth-largest party in the parliament.

"Our nation and our king are dearer to us than life," protesters chanted near government buildings in the center of the capital as they blew conch shells.

Police spokesman Nawaraj Adhikari told AFP that police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators after they broke into a restricted area.

Support has been brewing for the restoration of the monarchy and a Hindu state as dissatisfaction grows in the Himalayan country over political instability, corruption and slow economic development.

The party had submitted a 40-point memorandum to the prime minister's office in February, which also included demands to control corruption and ensure good governance.

"These beasts have ruined our nation with corruption and lawlessness," said Tanka Prasad Khatiwada, 80, who came from eastern Nepal to join the protest.

"To save our identity and culture there is no other way than restoring the monarchy."

Gyanendra Shah, 76, the last king of Nepal, has largely refrained from public comment on the country's fractious politics and calls for the monarchy’s restoration.

Shah was crowned in 2001 after his elder brother Birendra Bir Bikram Shah and his family were killed in a massacre that wiped out most of the royal family.

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