RPP-N pickets Singha Durbar

KATHMANDU: Supporters of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal today picketed Singha Durbar — the main administrative centre of the country — demanding promulgation of a new constitution within the stipulated timeframe, declaration of the country as a Hindu state and holding of a referendum to decide the fate of the abolished monarchy.

The protest was largely peaceful though some supporters were engaged in minor scuffles with the riot police at a few places.

Hundreds of pro-monarchy demonstrators waiving party flags and banners with slogans like ‘cut back inflation and load-shedding, promulgate new constitution on time, declare Nepal a Hindu state’ gheraoed the government secretariat and blocked traffic from 9 am to 3 pm.

Most of the roads leading to major parts of the city were not accessible due to the blockade. Though the police cleared the entry points that lead to Singha Durbar, service-seekers were stuck in the middle.

Traffic went haywire in roads around Singha Durbar. The protesters sang hymns, performed the Hanuman Naach (monkey god dance), bear dance and folk dances to the accompaniment of the Panche Baja (traditional musical instruments) to draw the attention of passers-by.

A sizable number of heavily armed security force personnel guarded Singha Durbar to prevent the protesters from sneaking into no-entry zones. The protest was led by chairman of the RPP-N Kamal Thapa and other central leaders of the party. The RPP-N supporters clashed with the riot police in Maitighar, Babar Mahal, Bhadrakali and the eastern and western gates of Singha Durbar as the demonstrators, split into various groups, tried to enter the prohibited zones.

The RPP-N claimed that around 25 demonstrators, including parliamentary leader of the party Chandra Bahadur Gurung, were injured in the scuffle. A majority of the protesters were elderly people.