Civil society activists arrested, freed

Swoop on no-budget-for-king protesters

Kathmandu, July 5

Over 50 activists of the Civil Movement for Democracy and Peace (CDMP) were arrested today when they were demonstrating in front of Singha Durbar.

They were demanding that the government not allocate any budget for the royal family.

Security personnel

that arived in four police vans arrested the CDMP leaders 15 minutes into their peaceful agitation.

Saying that the area was a prohibited zone, the police loaded the activists in vans.

This was the second time civil society members were arrested after the restoration of democracy in 2006.

Dr Devendra Raj Panday, Dr Sundar Mani Dixit, Shyam Shrestha, Malla K Sundar, Bimal Aryal, Shakya Suren and others were among those arrested. While 23 of them were taken to Anamnagar, 28 were lodged in the Tinkune police station before being freed in the evening. The activists threatened more protests if “pro-monarchy ministers were found to be favouring the old king.”

“We don’t care if the areas where we demonstrate are prohibited zones. We brought (PM) Girija Prasad Koirala and other ministers in the government by defying all prohibitory zones. This cabinet now reminds us of the same old undemocratic rule when we are against the budget allocation for the king,” Dr Devendra Raj Panday said.

“The interim constitution has ignored monarchy in Nepal’s politics and allocating a budget for the king will now be illegal,” he said.

Dr Sundar Mani Dixit said police atrocities should not be “a gift of democracy” for the people who have been fighting for full democracy and abolition of autocracy.

A demonstrator Bimal Aryal said the government arrests them only when they take to the streets against the king.