Nepal | July 14, 2020

Youths take to street against poor handling of COVID-19 yet again

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, June 20

Hundreds of people joined a youth-led apolitical and ‘leader-less’ protest here in the capital today once again expressing their dissatisfaction against government’s inability to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Youths pretend to lay dead on the street during a symbolic protest against the incompetence displayed by the government in dealing with coronavirus crisis, in Kathmandu, on Saturday, June 20, 2020. Photo: Skanda Gautam/THT

Around 200 youths gathered today at Sahid Gate area. The protestors tried to symbolically show suffering of people due to the government-imposed lockdown, which has paralysed all kind of economic activities.

Daily wager earners and the impoverished people have been hit hard by the lockdown imposed since March 24.

The protestors have demanded increase in polymerase chain reaction tests while scraping rapid diagnostic tests.

They have also urged the government to effectively conduct contact tracing. Namita Pokheral, 26, an agitator told THT over phone, “We are getting news about women being raped at quarantine facilities and Dalits being discriminated there. Quarantine facilities across countries have started turning into the virus hotspots. The government should handle the situation more effectively rather than making light comments on the situation triggered by the pandemic.”

Protestors also largely criticised the prime minister’s recent remark on the COV- ID-19 crisis that the COV- ID-19 can be defeated by taking turmeric powder, garlic and other household herbs with hot water.

Participants of today’s protest impersonated the dead as they laid down on the footpath near Shahid Gate; some painted their faces with redink while some others smeared turmeric powder on their faces. An agitator said they impersonated the dead in a bid to show the government how people were dying due to the COVID-19.

Youths have been spontaneously joining sporadic protests that are being seen in and around various places of Kathmandu valley and some city areas across the country since the first protest of June 9.

These youths, who got connected with each other through some social activists on social media and hashtag campaigns, have been demanding transparency in expenditure of government in its battle against the virus and effective handling of the virus.

They said the government lacked urgency, transparency and accountability concerning COVID-19 management.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 21, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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