King, queen attend fest; protesters caned

Kathmandu, September 6 :

King Gyandendra and Queen Komal this evening attended the third day of Indra Jatra festival at Basantapur amidst protests. Unlike previous years, none of the ministers, high-ranking government officials or the Chief District Officer accompanied the royal couple. The royal couple was accompanied by the principal secretary of the Royal Palace Pashupati Bhakta Maharjan. Newa Rastriya Mukti Morcha (NRMM) took out demonstrations chanting slogans against the monarch and hoisted black flags at New Road gate, Khichapokhari, Sukrapath and Dharmapath at 3.15 pm before the arrival of the king and the queen. Security forces baton-charged demonstrators who hoisted black flags and staged a demonstration. But a small group that had gathered to observe the festival chanted pro-King slogans. The NRMM had , in pamphlets distributed in the area , appealed to the Newar community and everyone related to the Indra Jatra festival to boycott the royal couple.