Maoist activists on Sunday blocked roads, attacked vehicles, forced shops to close and clashed with riot police on the first day of their three-day anti-government nationwide general strike, resulting in injuries to at least 24 people and arrest of 37 protesters.
The strike against President Ram Baran Yadav’s move to reinstate then army chief Rukmangad Katwal in May, which had led to the fall of the Maoist government, crippled life across Nepal as schools, colleges, major markets and most of the factories remained closed and vehicular movement was halted.
However, police vans, tourist buses, ambulances and press vehicles were seen on roads amid tight security during the strike, the third called by the Maoists within a month demanding rectification of President Yadav’s move through a parliamentary motion.
At least 24 people were injured when Maoist cadres clashed with riot police in Baneshwor area near the Tribhuvan International Airport in eastern Kathmandu. Police baton-charged the protesters and fired tear gas shells to control the situation, which remained tense for hours.
Maoists also vandalised a police van during the clashes that erupted after security personnel tried to clear obstacles placed by the Maoists in the middle of a road to block transport services, police said.
Police were trying to clear the road near the airport as Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal was scheduled to return home shortly after attending the Copenhagen Climate Conference.