Thousands of Nepalese protest Maoists' crippling strike

Thousands of Nepalese protest Maoists' crippling strike

Protesters ranging from business and professional communities rallied in the heart of the capital today to show their disgust at the Maoists' strike that has paralysed the country since May 2 as they felt the pinch in the form of shortage of essential items.

Thousands of people, including civil society members, businessmen, lawyers, doctors, engineers, professors, journalists, artists and intellectuals asked the Maoists to withdraw their long and painful strike within 48 hours.

They also called on all political parties to forge a consensus and find a way out of the standoff by peaceful means and dialogue.

Shouting and carrying banners "enough is enough", the rallyists said people want no more strikes, shutdown and agitations.

In a sharp dig at the Maoists, the speakers at the rally said the Maoists through their strike were keeping "28 million Nepalese people hostage".

Today's outpour, followed smaller clashes and confrontations in the capital and outlying districts over the last two days as the Maoists called indefinite strike entered its sixth day paralysing life and movement in the country.

The strike has led to essential supplies including foodstuffs and medicines running low and left thousands of tourists stranded in the absence of movement of public transport.
Nepalese political leaders are struggling to meet a May 28 deadline to finish the drafting of a new constitution as stipulated by the peace process that brought the civil war to an end in 2006.

The Maoists, who have around 35 per cent of the seats in parliament, want the government disbanded, followed by the formation of a new coalition government led by them to rescue the peace process and draft a new constitution.

Chanting "we want peace and constitution" the anti-Maoist protestors said political parties should come to the negotiating table to break the political impasse.

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