Clash over Nepal King’s birthday fete

Ameet Dhakal

KATHMANDU: Maoist cadres, protesting against King Gyanendra’s birthday celebrations, clashed with a group of royalists on Saturday.

Nine royalists and two policemen were injured when Young Communist League (YCL) cadres attacked a group of royal supporters who were heading towards the palace to mark the King Gyanendra’s 61st birthday.

Earlier, the YCL and student wings of other political parties prevented a pro-King rally from being taken out from Ratnapark and reach the Narayanhiti Royal Palace to felicitate the King “on behalf of the people.”

The planned rally was widely criticised by political parties as an attempt to “assemble reactionaries”.

The King had thrown a three-day party, coinciding with his birthday, and invited over 2,000 guests. The party was, however, boycotted by the Government and diplomatic communities.

The Prime Minister, Ministers and high-ranking civil, military and police officials did not attend the party. None of the ambassadors present in Kathmandu was present at the function either. Indian, American and European ambassadors had held informal discussions and decided not to attend the birthday bash. The E.U. ambassadors had, at a press conference, announced that none of them would attend the function.

Talking to the media at the Tribhuban International Airport upon his arrival from a week-long Switzerland tour, Maoist chairman Prachanda said his party would take initiatives to remove the King through the interim Parliament.

The interim Constitution says two-thirds majority of the interim Parliament would be sufficient to remove the King if he is found conspiring against the Constituent Assembly polls.

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