Riot police fired at least 30 rounds of rubber bullets and 115 rounds of tear gas, and used dozens of water cannons and baton to disperse an angry mob of protesters gathered around Baneshwor area against the Millennium Challenge Corporation almost all day long today.

The area between New Baneshwor and Bijulibazar remained tense throughout the day after irate protestors pelted stones and bricks at security personnel, who were deployed in large numbers. As the scenario started getting worse, riot police deployed heavy force to disperse the mass. After the protest was over in the evening, the deserted Baneshwor-Bijulibazar area was filled with pelted stones, bricks and sandals of the protestors.

During the clash, 16 security personnel suffered injuries and scores of protestors were injured. Of those injured in the protest, seven sustained serious injury. They were taken to Civil Hospital and National Trauma Centre. Two dozen security shields and dozens of batons of riot police were broken during the clash.

Sporadic clashes occurred almost all day long as the cadres of various political parties, mostly communist parties, separately organised the violent protest. The protesters also included the cadres of the ruling Nepal Communist Party-Maoist Centre led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and NCP (United Socialist) led by Madhav Kumar Nepal. Both the parties had okayed the tabling of the MCC at the Parliament to allow the issue to be discussed in the House of Representatives so as to avoid such violence.

However, hundreds of cadres of the two parties joined today's protest.

The cadres of other fringe communist parties such as Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal, Mohan Bikram Singh-led NCP Masal, Mohan Baidhyaled NCP Revolutionary Maoist, Rishi Kattel-led Nepal Communist Party, Bishwo Bhakta Dulal-led Scientific Socialist Communist Party, Karnajit Budhathoki-led NCP Maoist Centre Socialist, and CP Gajurel-led Deshbhakta Janaganatrantrik Morcha, also joined today's protest. These parties have been organising similar protest programmes against the MCC pact since the past few days.

Fifty-three protestors were arrested from the protest site. The arrested were being kept in Nepal Police Health Club until late evening.

SP Santosh Singh Rathaur of Rani Pokhari Police Office said that they would be released by today.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 21, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.