In a massive show of strength, tens of thousands of Maoist cadres dressed in red marched on the streets of the Nepalese capital on Saturday in a bid to force the 22-party coalition government led by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal to step down.

Wearing red caps and shirts and carrying red flags, thousands of Maoists chanting anti-government slogans marched from different corners of Kathmandu to converge into a public meeting at Tundikhel Khulamunch here.

As the protesters marched on the streets, thousands of police in riot gear guarded the city to stop any violence during the rally.

The former rebels want to lead a national unity government as their party is the single largest group in the Constituent Assembly.

Even as the Maoists were preparing for their show of strength and indefinite general strike, talks were being held among major three political parties — Maoists, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML — in a five star hotel to find a way out.

After the meeting held in the morning, Maoist vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai said that he was optimistic that some sort of understanding will be reached before their general strike which starts on Sunday.

He said their talks mainly focused on four key issues including integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants and power sharing.

A way out can be found if the parties agreed on the two major issues power sharing and Army integration, Mr. Bhattarai told journalists after the meeting.

Nepali Congress General Secretary Bimalendra Nidhi said that the talks were moving in the positive direction and they will resume the meeting after the Maoists’ rally.

Shops were closed factories were shut down and vehicular movement was very thin since morning.


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