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19 arrested as violence rises ahead of polls

DPA
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Nepalese police officers check motorcyclists at a checkpoint in Kathmandu on Wednesday.photo:afp
Nepalese police officers check motorcyclists at a checkpoint in Kathmandu on Wednesday.photo:afp

Nineteen people were arrested on suspicion of vandalism in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu on Thursday, in a strike held to protest against upcoming elections, police said.

The men were arrested for trying to force vehicles to stay off the roads on the third day of a transport strike called by opposition parties ahead of constituent assembly elections on November 19.

Public transport was thin in the capital because of the strike.

The group of 33 smaller opposition parties believe the national poll will not be fair if it is overseen by the chief justice heading the current caretaker government.

Background

Nepal elected a constituent assembly in 2008 to write a constitution, but it was disbanded in May 2012, after failing to achieve consensus on the text despite several extensions of the deadline.

The protesting parties were spearheaded by the CPN-Maoist, a breakaway faction of the Unified Maoist party, one of the country’s largest, which led the decade—long conflict in Nepal. A peace accord was signed in 2006.

Violent incidents have increased as the election day draws closer.

Eight people were injured in the capital late Wednesday when protestors threw a petrol bomb at a bus. Government figures said over 50 acts of violence and arson were reported on the first two days of the strike, on Tuesday and Wednesday.DPA


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