Protesters in Nepal step up pressure on the King

Click to follow
The Independent Online

They were dancing in the streets of Kathmandu yesterday. Teenagers danced perilously on the roofs of minibuses as they drove down the streets with their horns blaring and flags waving from every window.

They had defeated a king who was prepared to shoot his own people to cling on to power, and Nepalis came out in their hundreds of thousands to celebrate the victory of people power.

Late on Monday, King Gyanendra gave in to the protesters, who have filled the streets for days demanding that he gives up power, and announced that he was recalling parliament.

But the people also demanded that the work they had begun was finished. A crowd gathered outside the home of G P Koirala, the opposition parties' choice for prime minister, and when the 84-year-old came out to wave from his rooftop, they chanted with one voice: "Be careful. Do not make any compromise with the King."

"This is just the first step," said Lakpa Nuru Sherpa. "We want a democratic republic. No compromise. He is not our king."

The Maoist rebels, who were in alliance with the opposition against the King, announced that they were unmoved by his decision to recall parliament, and would continue their blockade of the capital, which has caused shortages of food and fuel.

The King appears to have made a bold gamble that he may be able to cling on to some form of ceremonial monarchy. But on the streets they chanted: "Death to the monarchy, Gyanendra leave the country ... Justice is waiting for you, Gyanendra."