Dozen Arrested over National Strike by Nepal Police


Kathmandu: Nepalese police arrested 30 members in the capital on Sunday for trying to enforce a nationwide strike, the latest in a string of protest against the new constitution.

“We have arrested 30 demonstrators in Kathmandu for trying to block roads, destroying vehicles and close shops, “police spokesman Kamal Singh Bam told AFP.

As the protester demanded the release of fellow cadres from the hardline faction, the communist party of Nepal Maoist, the protester called on factories, schools and public transport to shutdown across the Himalayan  nation.

The party workers were arrested earlier for allegedly vandalising property in different parts of the country.

Police spokesman Madhav Joshi told told AFP demonstrators had vandalised five vehicles in the latest strike but said no injuries had been reported.

“We have taken 92 people into custody for trying to block roads and vandalise vehicles,” Joshi said.

Kathmandu’s usually gridlocked streets were clear during morning rush hour and many shops remained shut as people heeded the call to stay home, fearing attacks by the protesters.

“Politicians have to find a different way to put forward their demands,” said banker Niyati Shakya, who was walking to work.

“Strikes like these do nothing but trouble the public,” the 27-year-old told AFP.

The Maoists staged a ten-year insurgency against the state that ended in 2006, leaving 16,000 dead.

They are now a minority partner in government but have lost ground since winning a landslide victory in the Himalayan nation’s first post-war elections in 2008.

Many former rebels have walked out of the main party and formed independent splinter groups, accusing its leaders of betraying their original revolutionary ideals.

Although the Maoists struck a deal last month to form a new party that includes many of the hardliners, a handful of leaders and their cadres rejected the move and continue to operate independently.