Nepal Maoists feeling the heat of people's anger over their extortion campaign

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Washington, May 8 (ANI): Nepal's Maoists ended a six-day general strike due to their increasing unpopularity and people's anger over their extortion campaign to feed the cadres, as well as using private schools to shelter them.

The Maoists in Nepal ended the general strike on Friday, after angered citizens numbering in thousands came out in large numbers against them on the streets of Kathmandu, resulting in clashes with the Red ultras.he Police attempted to prevent Maoist protesters from clashing with people who were protesting for peace in the same area, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal told reporters: "We have postponed the shutdown, but have not ended our other protests against this government," he said.

But analysts said anger among citizens forced the Maoists' decision. The strike disrupted food supplies and limited access to medical services. Clashes broke out in the capital with bused-in Maoist supporters.

Farmers and dairy owners were decrying the shutdown by throwing vegetable and milk that they could not take to the markets on the highways. On Friday, more than 10,000 people participated in a "peace gathering" in Kathmandu, and in Lalitpur district people overturned a truck carrying Maoist cadres and beat them up.

"The decision by the Maoists to ease the lives of ordinary citizens is a clear indication that they are feeling the heat. This is their response to the unpopularity of the shutdown and the consequent retaliation by locals against Maoist supporters," said columnist and lawyer Bhimarjun Acharya.

"The Maoists made a mistake in trying to portray this shutdown as analogous to the nationwide protests in 2006," Acharya said, referring to the 19 days of nationwide protests in 2006 that forced King Gyanendra to relinquish power.

"Popular support comes from good agenda. This time the agenda is very personal," The Christian Science Monitor quoted him, as saying.

The shutdown was meant to force Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal to step down and allow Maoist chairman Prachanda to lead a new government.

Yubaraj Ghimire, former editor of Kathmandu Post daily, said the strike cost the Maoists more than just popular support. It also cost them the recognition as a political force they enjoyed since 006. (ANI)

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