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Nepali capital's tourist quarter hit by unrest

By Staff
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KATHMANDU, Apr 17 (Reuters) - Nepali police burst tear gas shells and charged at youths with canes today to break up a protest in the tourist heartland of Kathmandu, which has been largely immune to the anti-monarchy campaign sweeping the nation.

It was the second day of unrest in the Thamel district, a maze of alleys full of backpacker hotels, bars, restaurants, shops and tour agencies. Witnesses said police burst tear gas and then charged at the protesters, but no one was injured.

Protests were held elsewhere in the city as well, but they were not as intense as in previous days.

Political parties opposed to King Gyanendra, who have called for a mass rally on Thursday, however said there would be no let-up.

''There will be a storm on Thursday but no lull today,'' said Amrit Bohra, a leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (UML).

''Protests are taking place, scattered all over the city. They have not fizzled out.'' At least four people have been killed and hundreds wounded in police action against protesters since political parties launched a campaign on April 6 to remove King Gyanendra from power.

Tens of thousands of people have staged demonstrations against the monarch, bringing the mountainous kingdom to a standstill.

REUTERS SI RAI1503

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