Kathmandu: Maoists and Police Clash at Start of Three-Day Nationwide Strike
Posted by Ka Frank on December 20, 2009
Nepal News, December 20, 2009
Capital city turns into battle field as Maoist protestors clash with police; ambulances, press vehicles also not spared
Many parts of the capital city wore a look of a battle-field on Sunday as activists affiliated with the Unified CPN (Maoist) and their supporters engaged in violent clashes with riot police, resulting in injuries to scores, on the first day of the Maoists’ three-day nationwide strike. The bandh enforcers burnt tyres, vandalized any passing vehicles including those that were parked, and didn’t even spare ambulances and press vehicles.
Places like New Baneshwor, where the Constituent Assembly is located, including Putalisadak, Bagbazaar, Gaushala and few other places saw the most intense clashes between the police and bandh organizers during the Maoist-called strike.
Around two dozens persons, including CA lawmaker Yashoda Subedi and DSP Dilip Chaudhary, were injured in a severe scuffle between the Maoist activists and riot police at New Baneshwor. Most of the injured were Maoist activists with few others being police and bystanders. However, no critical injuries have been reported.
The clash reportedly ensued after police tried to bar protestors from removing the road dividers by using water canons. In response the protestors hurled stones at the security personnel. Police had to use batons, water canons and fire tear gas shells to disperse the irate protestors and take the situation under control.
Television images showed by-standers running for cover, squatting at the eves of closed shops or fleeing to narrow alleys as the police charged at the protestors with batons while the latter continued to hurl stones at them. Similar scuffles were seen in front of Gaushala and Bagbazaar, including few other places too.
The situation in front of Shanker Dev Campus in Putalisadak also turned tense after the protestors started hurling stones at the police. In resulting police action, scores of protestors were injured and many were taken into custody. Situation in and around these places is still said to be tense.
Despite promising that they will not obstruct press vans, vehicles carrying diplomats and tourists, ambulances and other emergency services, the Maoist activists attacked a vehicle belonging to Shahid Gangalal Heart Center at Maharajgunj. They mercilessly pelted stones at the vehicle carrying the hospital staffs, injuring four of them. The ambulance driver was severely injured and rushed to nearby Teaching Hospital while other hospital staffs were chased away. The hospital staffs were going to the hospital to perform an emergency surgery.
The protestors have also vandalized press vehicles in different places of the capital. Few photographers and camerapersons were also injured after being hit by stones hurled by demonstrators while covering the strike.