Central & South Asia
Nepal Maoists clash with police
Fresh violence erupts in capital Kathmandu as ex-rebels press for PM's resignation.
Last Modified: 09 May 2010 15:46 GMT
Protesters pelted police with stones and and set government vehicles on fire [AFP]

Riot police in Nepal have clashed with thousands of Maoist demonstrators outside the government's main office complex in the capital, Kathmandu.

Police fired tear gas on Sunday to disperse the demonstrators who gathered to block key offices, including that of Madhav Kumar Nepal, the prime minister. 

The Maoists, former rebels who fought a bloody 10-year war that killed an estimated 13,000 people, are pressing the prime minister to step down and hand over power to a communist-led government.

Power struggle

Protesters pelted police with stones, beat up pedestrians and television cameramen, and set government vehicles on fire. Several policemen and demonstrators were injured in the street battles.

Sunday's protest came two days after the Maoists ended a prolonged nationwide strike, bowing to pressure from angry citizens, Western diplomats and business groups.

The Maoists traditionally back strike calls with the threat of violence against those who defy them.

The Maoists won the country's last elections and briefly led a coalition government. A dispute split their coalition, allowing the current government to come to power.

The Maoists now want the power back, but the government has refused to step aside.

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