Nepal Maoists hold fresh protests

Page last updated at 13:55 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 14:55 UK

There have been more protests by Maoists in Nepal, after the president blocked the sacking of the army chief by the Maoist-led government.

Additional troops have been deployed in key areas of the capital, Kathmandu.

The fresh tension comes a day after clashes between demonstrators and security forces. The Maoist Prime Minister, Prachanda, resigned on Monday following the dispute over the sacking of the head of the army.

The other major political parties have been holding talks to try to form a national government with Maoist support. Although the Maoist party has the largest number of seats, no party holds a clear majority in parliament.

Riot police clash with protesters outside the president’s house in Kathmandu

Fresh crisis

The Maoist-led government moved to sack General Rookmangud Katawal for refusing to integrate Maoist former rebels into the army.

Prachanda’s resignation has pushed Nepal into a fresh political crisis following an election win by the Maoists last year.

His decision to stand down followed months of worsening tension between the ex-rebels and the military.

Correspondents say that the expectation now is that the Maoists will sit in opposition in parliament.

The Maoists want their fighters, who are currently restricted to United Nations-supervised camps, to be integrated into the regular Nepali army.

But the army has refused to integrate the fighters, who number about 19,000, arguing that they are politically indoctrinated.

The crisis is the most serious in Nepal since its 10-year long civil war between the army and the Maoists came to an end in 2006.

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