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Nepal Police Detain Dozens of Opposition Activists

  • Patricia Nunan

Authorities in Nepal have detained dozens of opposition leaders and activists in an apparent bid to prevent a nationwide strike planned for Thursday. The strike is intended to call for the restoration of democracy in the tiny Himalayan kingdom.

Police raided homes of opposition leaders early Wednesday and detained dozens of activists who defied a ban on all public gatherings across the capital Kathmandu.

The arrests come a day before an opposition-led four-day general strike goes in effect to pressure the royalist government to restore democratic freedoms.

Speaking from in hiding, opposition member Arjun Narasingha K.C. says the opposition will not be intimidated.

"Several activists and leaders are already arrested… but we are going to defy it and our program will continue," he said.

King Gyanendra assumed power and suspended civil liberties last year, citing the need to end a 10-year communist insurgency. The king called local elections in February a first step toward restoring democracy - but the opposition boycotted the polls.

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