Troops fire on Nepal protesters

Nepali troops have opened fire on protesters after they burnt tyres, chanted slogans and clashed with police in defiance of a curfew in the sixth day of mass protests against the king.

    Protests against the king have turned violent

    The violence on Tuesday came as international pressure increased on King Gyanendra to end his crackdown on the protests, in which three people have been killed and hundreds wounded.

    Dozens of people were wounded when troops opened fire on Tuesday.
       
    The street campaign is the most intense since the 58-year-old monarch sacked the government and seized power 14 months ago.
       
    Some analysts say it is only a matter of time before the king runs out of options. They say the protests and clashes, including in places where shoot-on-sight curfews were in force, showed that more ordinary people were coming out openly against him.
       
    But sources close to the palace said the king was unlikely to relent.

    Violence
       
    Troops baton-charged, tear-gassed and then opened fire to disperse more than 500 demonstrators in the Kathmandu suburb of Gongabu, wounding at least 50 people, a Reuters reporter at the scene said.
       
    Tension flared in the area after the shooting as the activists regrouped and more gunfire was heard.
       
    Troops also opened fire and wounded two people at a meeting called in the western tourist resort town of Pokhara to mourn a protester shot dead by the army there on Saturday, witnesses said.
       
    In another Kathmandu suburb, about 500 youths burnt tyres on the road, chanting "We want democracy" and "Gyanendra leave the country". Riot police charged at them with batons and beat them up, wounding at least two people before the crowd was dispersed.
       
    The latest demonstrations and a nationwide general strike began last Thursday in an attempt to force Gyanendra to step down and hand power to an all-party government.
       
    The campaign, backed by Maoist insurgents, had been due to end on Sunday but was extended indefinitely as stringent security measures prevented big rallies against the king.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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