Here is a chronology of the main events in Nepal's turbulent struggle for democracy.
1991: Multiparty democracy is established in Nepal.
February 1996: The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) begins the Nepalese People's War in the west of the country.
June 2001: Crown Prince Dipendra guns down his parents King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya and seven other members of the royal family before turning the gun on himself. He dies two days later without regaining consciousness but under Nepalese law, was king during that time. His brother Gyanendra accedes to the throne.
2002: King Gyanendra sacks the government led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba for failing to quell the Maoist rebellion.
June 2004: Deuba is reappointed as prime minister.
1 February: King Gyanendra sacks the government again and assumes total power initially for three years, appointing a new cabinet loyal to the Monarchy.
3 February: The King bans all dissent on his decision to assume power.
14 February: Maoist rebels begin a two week nationwide road blockade in protest against the King's seizure of power. Extra troops are ordered to police highways.
1 March: At least 70 Maoist rebels and four members of Nepal's security force are killed during fierce fighting.
20 March: 149 political activists are arrested across Nepal for holding anti-king protests.
8 April: 50 Maoist rebels are killed as 500 activists are arrested during pro-democracy rallies.
30 April: Gyanendra lifts the state of emergency he imposed upon seizure of power.
10 August: Maoists accused of blowing up a bus, killing at least 53 people, most of them civilians.
3 September: Maoists announce a three month unilateral ceasefire.
September: Police arrest hundreds of pro-democracy protestors. Activists vow to continue their campaign to restore democracy.
Extra army troops on the streets
are a common sight
15 December: A soldiers kills 12 civilians after a row with villagers causing an alliance of the country's seven main political parties to call for a general strike in Kathmandu.
16 December: Shops, schools and public transport come to a standstill as citizens obey call for a general strike.
2 January: Maoist rebels officially end a four-month truce and blasts rock several towns only hours after.
6 January: Louise Arbour, the UN human rights commissioner, urges rebels and government forces to stop fighting.
12 January: Around 150,000 people take part in the largest anti-monarchy rally to date.
20 January: Thousands of troops are stationed in Kathmandu to enforce a curfew designed to prevent a further anti-democracy rally, backed by Maoist rebels.
22 January: Hundreds of political activists are detained by police amid calls from the main political parties for a further strike.
1 February: Amnesty International calls on Gyanendra to release nearly 900 activists held in the run-up to the first anniversary of his seizure of power.
5 February: Maoists order a seven-day general strike, one of the longets ever by the rebels.