Thousands of people have demonstrated in Nepal to demand restoration of democracy -- the first mass protest since the king sacked an elected government and took absolute power.
Police kept a close watch as some 5,000 people took to the streets in Katmandu to protest King Gyanendra's direct rule. The protest march was organized by Nepal's seven major political parties.
The parties say they will step up their protests until the king reinstates the country's dissolved parliament, allowing a multi-party government to negotiate a political settlement with the Maoist rebels. The Maoists are fighting to replace the monarchy with a communist state.
Earlier Friday, the royalist government put security forces on alert, saying the government had information on terrorist groups infiltrating such rallies, and warning organizers to be cautious.
Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.