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Archive for Monday, September 5, 2005

Police detain dozens of pro-democracy protesters

September 5, 2005

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— Police fired tear gas and used bamboo batons to stop pro-democracy demonstrators from marching into the capital's center Sunday, arresting a former prime minister and dozens of other protesters.

About 5,000 people chanting "We want democracy" marched to protest King Gyanendra's dissolution of parliament and institution of direct rule in the Himalayan kingdom Feb. 1. They tried to march into central Katmandu, where protests are banned, but were driven off by police.

Girija Prasad Koirala, a former prime minister and president of the Nepali Congress, the country's largest political party, was among those detained.

Koirala, 80, briefly lost consciousness during a scuffle with police. Authorities took him to Teaching Hospital, where doctors said his injuries were not serious.

There have been several protests since Feb. 1 demanding that democracy be restored. King Gyanendra said he was compelled to assume absolute power to quell a communist insurgency that has claimed more than 11,500 lives in nine years and to end corruption.

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