Katmandu, Nepal Escalating communist rebel violence claimed 16 lives Monday in Nepal, as hundreds of pro-democracy advocates protested against King Gyanendra's direct rule in the Himalayan kingdom.
Maoist rebels ambushed an army patrol in central Nepal in a dawn attack, triggering a shootout that killed at least 13 soldiers and an insurgent near an army camp, the Defense Ministry said. Separately, two civilians were killed by explosive booby-traps as they cleared a highway of stones and sacks placed by the rebels to block traffic in the area, about 300 miles southeast of Katmandu.
In the capital, about 1,000 pro-democracy activists demanded Gyanendra free political detainees and give up powers he seized last year. "Respect human rights, restore democracy," the crowd chanted during a march through the streets of Katmandu.