Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 1:

Protest programmes against regression entered the second month today with thousands of demonstrators hitting the streets even as riot police rounded up hundreds of them from the heart of the city before freeing them later in the evening.

While the smaller groups of demonstrators belonging to the five-parties could be seen almost everywhere in the city, the main procession was led by Nepali Congress (NC) leader Ram Chandra Paudel. Other leaders leading the demonstrations that originated at New Road were Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, Devendra Raj Kandel, Sunil Bhandari, among scores of others.

Yet another group of demonstrators, which had hit the Putali Sadak earlier in the day and which was led by Nepali Congress leader Laxman Ghimire, was mopped up by the police by detaining scores of them.

The demonstrators led by Paudel went round Indrachowk, Ason and Thamel before returning to Ratna Park.

Chaos reigned for nearly two hours with the police rounding up many and dragging them into waiting trucks.

Though the demos were largely peaceful, the police stepped up pressure on the protesters at Ratna Park and New Road.

Demonstrators at New Road turned hostile when a handful of people started brick-batting the police.

The police had to finally use tear-gas shells when it became clear that the demonstrators were not very keen on calling it a day.

The bricks and the lathicharge that ensued at both Ratna Park and New Road left scores of demonstrators including central leaders injured.

NC leader Sunil Bhandari was among the injured. Some had to be rushed to the Bir Hospital amid the ever growing tension.

The three-hour long street fight between the police and the demonstrators threw normal life out of gear at the city centre with shopkeepers downing their shutters until late in the evening.