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US and UN condemn Nepal arrests

Written by: Staff
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Kathmandu, Apr 6 (UNI) The United Nations and the US today condemned the arrest of large number of political leaders, activists and representatives of professional organisations here during the peaceful protest.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said he was troubled by reports of a large number of arrests of political leaders on the eve of planned demonstrations by the seven-party alliance.

''The Secretary General is concerned about the confrontation developing in Nepal where the government has imposed a ban on protests on the eve of planned demonstrations by the Seven-Party Alliance," Mr Annan said in a statement issued here.

''The Secretary-General appeals to all quarters in Nepal to work towards ending the conflict through a reciprocal ceasefire agreement,'' the statement added.

Meanwhile, the United States too has condemned detention of opposition members and civil society activists.

''The arrests and harassment of pro-democracy activists violate their fundamental civil rights,'' a statement issued by the American Embassy in Kathmandu said here.

The US has urged the government to release all detained activists for voicing their opposition to autocratic rule in the Himalayan Kingdom.

Dialogue between Nepal's legitimate political forces, the King and opposition political parties, is the only effective way to return democracy to the country, the statement said.

''Such a dialogue, however, is not possible in a climate in which the freedom of speech and assembly are suppressed,'' it added.

The government has imposed ban on peaceful political activities and curfew has been clamped on Ring road areas of Kathmandu and Lalitpur last night.

Hundreds of political party leaders and activists, journalists, lawyers, professors, doctors and civil society representatives have been detained from various parts of the country on the eve of the four-day general strikes of the seven parties alliance.

The strikes crippled normal life in Kathmandu and other parts of the country as all educational institutions, factories and other establishments remained closed.

The seven political parties, which represent more than 90 per cent of the seats in the dissolved parliament, have said the movement will continue unless King Gyanendra hands over the reins of power to a democratically elected government.

UNI XC AK KP1500

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