• THT 10 years ago: NWPP stages show of strength

Kathmandu, January 10, 2006

Thousands of people from all walks of life today participated in a long march from Bhaktapur to Kathmandu organised by the Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party (NWPP) as part of protest against the “autocratic regime.” Majority of the participants in the 10-km-long rally were women, clad in traditional black sari. Several tankers were put in different places for providing people with drinking water and a large number of volunteers were mobilised to support them during the march. The demonstrators chanted slogans against the “autocratic regime”, asked people to boycott the municipal election and urged all to support the movement of the seven-party alliance. Addressing the mass in New Baneshwor, NWPP chairman Narayan Man Bijukchhe said the municipal elections would make the political situation more complicated rather than solving the current problems. “The King announced polls untimely and unconstitutionally. He wants to distract peoples’ attention from the parties’ movement for democracy and make the parties fight among themselves,” he said. Bijukchhe said the parties would not repeat past mistakes if they are given an opportunity to serve the nation once again. Observers said it was the ‘biggest’ gathering of indigenous locals after the seven parties launched their movement.

 Asylum seekers in transit protest in front of UNHCR office

At least 22 asylum seekers who are using Nepal as a transit on their way to the countries of their desire, mostly Western nations, are staging an indefinite sit-in in front of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) office in Kathmandu. The asylum seekers from different countries, including Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, Myanmar and Ethiopia, began their protest at 8:00 am today, demanding UNHCR act immediately in issuing them a “written document” to ensure their resettlement in various countries, as promised earlier. “In July last year, the UNHCR told us that Sweden and Canada had agreed to take in some of us,” a political asylum seeker who chose to remain anonymous told The Himalayan Times today. According to him, the asylum seekers have been facing many problems after a UNHCR staff dealing with the issue reportedly disappeared with the documents necessary for their resettlement in April last year. The UNHCR had then told them to go through the whole process again last August, he said. “The UNHCR has been asking us to wait since August last year. It had said the process would take only a couple of weeks, but nothing has happened till date. Hence we have been forced to protest,” the asylum seekers said.