Nepal: USAID Office Trashed during General Strike
Posted by Ka Frank on December 21, 2009
Maoists vandalize USAID office in Surkhet
The Maoists have vandalized the Surkhet office of the USAID in Surkhet and Women Development Office in Birendranagar for ‘defying’ the strike. A group of Maoists entered the USAID office at 10 a.m. and vandalized the office. “We were outside basking on sun, when they suddenly entered the office,” USAID official told Republica. The Maoists damaged computers, telephone and furniture.
Kathmandu: Police arrested six strike enforcers in Kathmandu as the Maoists set ablaze vehicles across the nation on the second day of the three-day general strike on Monday. According to police spokesperson Bigyan Raj Sharma, Maoists set ablaze a truck each in Morang and Jhapa and a motorcycle each in Bharatpur and Pokhara. The cadres of UCPN (Maoist) also vandalized Mahalaxmi Timber Industry and Daju Bhai Furniture Industry in Ghorahi, Dang district.
In cities and towns throughout the country, the Maoist supporters have laid siege to the main squares and burnt tires to prevent any vehicles from passing. Police in large numbers have been stationed in main squares. Earlier, the Maoist cadres set four motorcycles on fire at Tanki Sinwari in Biratnagar for ‘defying’ their banda, TV channels and FM stations reported.
Police and Maoist cadres have clashed at several places in Sunsari and Morang districts since early morning and the situation could go out of hand, police said. On Sunday, the Maoist cadres turned violent at capital´s New Baneshwar. Dozens of people, including the party´s parliamentarians and a police officer, were injured in the clash.
Dadeldhura: The Maoists also closed down ATM services in Dadeldhura. Two ATMs – each operated by Sunrise and Global Bank were forced to close. Maoists had forced the close-down of banks since Sunday, according to Sunrise Bank’s assistant manager Prem Mahar. Some government offices have also closed down owning to the Maoist threat while other have arranged security from police.
More news from Sunday’s clashes in Kathmandu:
“Worst display of violence since Jana Andolan-II” (Nepali Times, Dec. 21)
More than 70 people, including a Maoist CA member and a Deputy Superintendent of the Police (DSP), were injured in the clashes between the police and the Maoist protestors on Sunday. It was the first day of the three-day long banda called by the Maoist. The Kathmandu Post reports:
Sunday’s strike saw Deputy Superintendent of Police (DP) Dilip Chaudhary brutally attacked in a clash between UCPN (Maoist) cadre and police at Naya Banewshwor. Eyewitnessess said dozens of Maoist cadres attacked Chaudhary with stones and iron rods after surrounding him when he fell down after stumbling on a motorcycle parked on the roadside.
The clash took place when the police used water canons to disperse demonstrators who were staging a protest to block Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal’s motorcade on the way to Baluwatar from the airport, following his return from the UN climate summit in Copenhagen.
The Maoists have said 50 protestors were injured on Sunday. Kantipur reports: Maoists have accused Acting Prime Minister Bijayakumar Gachhadar and Home Minister Bhim Rawal of using the police to suppress the protests. “In spite of our efforts to carry out peaceful protests there were some clashes in the valley, including in Naya Baneshwor, because the barbarous police used excessive force,” Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai said.
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights has said Sunday’s display of violence was some of the worst for several years. The Kathmandu Post reports: “I recognise the right of the police to keep clear the public highways and the right of the demonstrators to protest peacefully; however I call on all groups to exercise restraint, to avoid provocation and to reduce tension through dialogue,” said OHCHR-Nepal representative Richard Bennett. “Today’s display of violence was some of the worst on the streets of Kathmandu for several years, perhaps since Jana Andolaan-II. It must not be repeated and those responsible should be held to account.”
OHCHR has said police used excessive force after DSP Dilip Chaudhary was injured. Meanwhile, National Human Rights Commission has asked the Maoists to withdraw the banda, saying the strikes have made people’s lives very difficult.
The home minister also asked the Maoists to withdraw their banda, after a meeting with police officials and some cabinet members last night. The Kathmandu Post reports: “The nature of violent activities carried out by the Maoist activities today (Sunday) is a breach of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” Home Minister Rawal told reports after the two-hour-long meeting. “The intensification of such acts will put the peace process in peril.”
Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai accused the government of violating the interim constitution by using the excessive force against the demonstrators. He also said the three-day long banda would continue.
From Nagarik, Sunday’s casualties and damages:
In Kathmandu: Injured: 71 people (50 protestors, 21 police) Arrested: 72 protestors Damages: 20 public transportation vehicles, 1 ambulance, at least 5 government vehicles
Outside Kathmandu: Injured: 15 including a human rights worker in Parbat, 3 students in Pokhara Damages: 3 government offices in Dang vandalised, a campus in Rajbiraj was vandalised and set to fire.