Nepali police arrested 10 protesters including foreign nationals from Australia, the U.S. and China on Saturday as hundreds staged a demonstration in Kathmandu against the government’s handling of the virus crisis.
Demonstrators have defied a nationwide lockdown for several days this week to demand better testing and quarantine facilities for returning migrant workers.
Police official Sushil Kumar Yadav said that seven of those arrested were foreigners. Three of them were Chinese, with one each from the U.S., Australia, Canada and Norway, he said. At the protest on Saturday, participants showed up in masks, carrying banners reading “enough is enough”.
While that protest ended peacefully, police had used water cannon, batons and tear gas to disperse demonstrations near the Prime Minister’s residence earlier this week.
Nepal imposed a nationwide lockdown in March in a bid to halt the spread of the pandemic. It currently has 5,062 cases of COVID-19, with 16 deaths.
The Home Ministry has warned that protesters could face a six-month jail term if they stage rallies during the lockdown. Tens of thousands of migrant workers have returned however from India and West Asia after losing their jobs, overwhelming testing and quarantine facilities.