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06KATHMANDU931 2006-04-10 10:24:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kathmandu
Cable title:  

DEMONSTRATORS PROTEST IN DEFIANCE OF GOVERNMENT

Tags:   PGOV PHUM PTER ASEC NP 
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DE RUEHKT #0931/01 1001024
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 101024Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1042
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 4161
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY 4432
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 9517
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 2415
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3818
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 9513
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L KATHMANDU 000931 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/INS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/10/2016
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PTER ASEC NP
SUBJECT: DEMONSTRATORS PROTEST IN DEFIANCE OF GOVERNMENT
CURFEW

REF: A. KATHMANDU 211


B. KATHMANDU 895

C. KATHMANDU 928

Classified By: Ambassador James F. Moriarty. Reasons 1.4 (b/d).

Summary
-------



1. (C) On April 10, pro-democracy protesters took to the
streets nationwide for the fifth day, in defiance of the
third day of a government-called curfew, and despite security
forces killing at least four protesters in the last two days.
The seven-party alliance announced an indefinite
continuation of their general strike, originally called for
April 6-9. The Maoists announced support for the Parties'
continued general strike by saying they would block roads and
pull down royal statutes throughout the country. While the
Maoists continued to claim a unilateral cease-fire in
Kathmandu Valley, some Party leaders privately opined that
the Maoists were infiltrating demonstrations, turning them
violent. Demonstrating the Maoists' ability to attack
increasingly larger cities, the Maoists attacked government
buildings and freed 104 prisoners in Butwal, Lumbini Zonal
Headquarters, located in the western terai late on April 7.
End Summary.

Government Issues Day-time Curfew


--------------------------





2. (U) In response to the seven-party alliance's peaceful
mass demonstration planned for April 8 to coincide with the
anniversary of democracy coming to Nepal in 1990, the
government declared a day-time 1000-2000 hours curfew in
Kathmandu and other large cities throughout the country,
citing information that Maoists would infiltrate the
demonstrations and turn them violent. (Note: The government
last declared a day-time curfew on January 20 for the same
reason (ref A). End Note.) On April 9, after demonstrators
defied the April 8 curfew, the government extended the curfew
to 0700-2000 hours, and on April 10, the government announced
an 1100-1800 hours curfew. However, each day demonstrators
defied the curfew and took to the streets in increasing
numbers, protesting against the King's authoritarian regime
and calling for democracy, sometimes becoming violent,
burning tires and throwing rocks and bricks. On April 10 in
Kathmandu, Emboff observed several groups of a few hundred
people demonstrating in various areas around the city, and
noted that burned out vehicles, downed trees, burning tires,
and large rocks blocked several streets. The majority of
shops and businesses remained closed during the curfew and
general strike.

Four Killed In Demonstrations


--------------------------





3. (U) The government, increasingly unable to control
demonstrators who defied the curfew, resorted to firing
indiscriminately into crowds in several places, killing four
people on April 8 and 9. On April 8, in the mid-western city
of Pokhara, a Royal Nepalese Army soldier shot at
stone-throwing protesters, killing one demonstrator and
injuring another. Near a protest in Bharatpur, western
terai, on April 8, as security forces fired at demonstrators,
a stray bullet killed a woman sitting on her balcony. On
April 9, police fired at protesters in Banepa, a city on the
eastern rim of the Kathmandu Valley, killing one demonstrator
and injuring three others seriously. On April 9, security
forces killed a man in the western city of Butwal.

Maoists Join Action


--------------------------





4. (U) In a statement issued on April 9, Maoist leaders
Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai announced that the Maoists
would support the Parties' general strike by blocking roads
and pulling down all royal statues. The Maoists had
previously announced a Kathmandu Valley-only unilateral
cease-fire to support the Parties' action (ref B). On April

7, thousands of Maoists mounted a large-scale attack on the
Lumbini Zone Headquarters of Butwal, Rupandehi District in
the western terai, destroying government buildings and
releasing 104 prisoners, some Maoists, from jail. Maoists
also attacked Taulihawa, headquarters of neighboring
Kapilbastu District, late on April 7. Security forces claim
that they killed 14 Maoists, seven each in Butwal and
Taulihawa, and that Maoists killed three security personnel
and two civilians in Taulihawa. (Note: The Maoists still
hold the Chief District Officer and police abducted from
their April 6 attack on Malangawa, Sarlahi District (ref C).
End note.) This large group of Maoists continued to roam the
western terai area. The Technical Cooperation of the Federal
Republic of Germany (GTZ) was trying to confirm reports that
Maoists in Doti District, in the far-west, had abducted four
local sub-contractors working on a rural development project
on April 5. Elsewhere, Maoists killed three civilians in
Rajbiraj, Saptari District in the eastern terai, on April 9,
for allegedly being involved in criminal activities.

Parties Call For Continued Action...


--------------------------





5. (C) Sushil Koirala, Nepali Congress (NC), told Emboff that
the Parties' movement was "gaining momentum" and that the
"mood" of the people had "changed." He explained that the
Parties would not call off the general strike unless the King
"returned sovereignty, state power, multi-party democracy,
and the rule of law to the people." Highlighting the
counterproductive nature of the government's reaction to the
growing movement, he stated, "the more regressive the
government action, the more people will push for democracy."
He noted continued international support was key, and urged
the U.S. to pressure the King to follow the Parties'
"roadmap" and not his own. K.P. Oli, Communist Party of
Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), agreed that the
general strike would continue, compared the current
demonstrations with those in 1990, and explained that people
were once again taking to the streets to demand democracy.
He stated that even if they wanted to, the Parties could not
stop people from taking to the streets. He commented that
the people's movement would only stop when the King gave up
autocratic rule and returned power to the people. United
Left Front leader C.P. Mainali noted that everyone was
waiting to see what the King would say in his New Year's
speech on April 14, explaining that if the King announced a
general election it would be a "blunder for the King, the
country, and the people."

...Unclear Whether Maoists Have Infiltrated Demonstrations


--------------------------



--------------------------





6. (C) While Oli called government allegations that Maoists
had infiltrated the demonstrations "baseless," Narayan
Khadka, Nepali Congress (Democratic) (NC(D)), told Emboff
that the Maoists had infiltrated demonstrations in Kathmandu.
He explained that he and his party members saw many new
faces in the demonstrations, and noted that it was these
people who were inciting violence. (Note: Several local
employees of the Embassy have expressed similar concerns. End
note.) However, Minendra Rizal, NC(D), disagreed, telling
Emboff he had seen no indication that Maoists had infiltrated
the Parties' demonstrations. He acknowledged that the
Parties had to be "careful" that the Maoists not "trap" the
Parties. He explained that the Parties had to be "mindful"
that the Maoist "support" of the Parties' general strike was
actually support only to the Maoists and not part of the
Parties' non-violent movement.

...Term Maoist Attacks "Unhelpful"


--------------------------





7. (C) Mainali stressed to Emboff the peaceful nature of the
protest program of the seven-party alliance, and noted that
the Maoists had their own program, separate from the Parties.
He stated that the Maoist attacks in Butwal and Taulihawa
had had an "adverse impact" on the seven-party alliance's
ability to stage peaceful rallies, by giving the government
an excuse to continue saying that Maoists were infiltrating

the demonstrations. "In this way Maoists are
counterproductive," he explained. He stated that the
alliance would continue to press the Maoists to announce a
nationwide cease-fire to allow space for the Parties to act.
Rizal likewise condemned the Maoist attacks in Butwal and
Taulihawa as "deplorable," and stressed that the Parties
continued to call on the Maoists to declare a unilateral
cease-fire.

Human Rights Groups Urge Restraint


--------------------------





8. (U) The Nepal office of the United Nations Office of the
High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a statement
on April 8 expressing "grave concern" over reports of
security forces shooting into a crowd of demonstrators, and
reiterated its call for the use of minimum force despite
aggressive demonstrators throwing "rocks, bricks and other
projectiles, and attacks on public property. Human rights
group observers monitored the daily demonstrations.

Comment


--------------------------





9. (C) We have heard that even the State Council (Raj
Parisad), a state body mostly hand-picked by the King, is
meeting secretly to try to find ways to convince him to reach
out to the Parties. Time appears to be running out for
Gyanendra, however, and unless he moves in the coming days,
he may well loose his ability to steer events.
MORIARTY