Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nepal's Maoists announce fresh protests

KATHMANDU - Nepal's opposition Maoist party on Saturday announced a fresh, month-long round of anti-government protests, accusing the new administration of failing to address its demands.

The Maoists, who waged a decade-long war against the state before winning elections in 2008, said they would launch nationwide protests on Sunday, culminating in a three-day general strike in December.

The Maoist-led government fell in May after the president overruled their decision to sack the head of the army, and since then they have held regular protests, preventing parliament from sitting and paralysing the capital.

"We have been compelled to announce a third round of protests because the government has made no effort to meet our demands," said party spokesman Dinanath Sharma.

"But we will keep the door open for further talks with the government."

Sharma also said the Maoists would allow the parliament to reopen for three days to pass this year's budget, which should have been approved by lawmakers three months ago.

Most government workers including police and the army went without pay last month because government departments cannot draw down any more money until the new budget is passed.

The Maoists want the president to apologise for his move to reinstate the army chief, which they say was unconstitutional, and are also calling for a parliamentary debate on the head of state's powers.

Earlier this month, they blockaded the government headquarters in Kathmandu for two days in protest against the president's move.

No comments: