To mount pressure on the Madhav Kumar Nepal-led regime to form a new consensus government under its leadership, the major opposition party — the UCPN (Maoist) — is holding a nationwide mass demonstration here on Saturday.

The Maoists have said they would mobilise half a million people and the cadres have already started descending on the capital. Though the party has said it would be a peaceful demonstration, various political parties, civil society members and foreign diplomats have voiced concern as the party trained the cadres in the use of khukri and sticks. The police have confiscated sacks of empty bottles and hundreds of litres of petrol, which they said might be used in making bombs.

On Friday, the Maoist cadres collected money from shops and markets here in support of their programme.

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