Last year, King Gyanendra declared martial law because, as he claimed at the time, he was afraid that communist rebels were a threat to take over the country. Now, after months of government suppression of any opposition or criticism of the king, the people of Nepal are getting restless. And violent.
Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at hundreds of lawyers protesting against the king's rule as demonstrations and an opposition general strike continued in Nepal for an eighth day Thursday.
Dozens of lawyers were wounded after police hit them with batons, and at least 70 were arrested, said Madhav Baskota, general secretary of the Nepal Bar Association. Two lawyers were hit with rubber bullets and one by a tear gas canister, he said.
Later, a crowd of thousands calling for the king to resign marched on a road where demonstrations are prohibited. Police kept watch but did not interfere.
"People and police come together! Hang King Gyanendra!" the protesters chanted.
Wow. It’s nuts over there. The king relaxed some restrictions regarding cell phone usage and night curfews, but I doubt that’s going to tame the beast. Now, the communist rebellion is still out there, and they certainly are a threat, but there is uncertainty of what would happen if the people decided that they needed to forcefully extract the king from the seat of power. Would sane people be a part of whatever new government fills the void? Or would the communists be in position to take the reigns?
The US State Department is pulling Americans out of the country now. They should also be warning Gyanendra that if he doesn’t ease up on his people, he could be setting the stage for something far worse than what he is trying to prevent by cracking down.