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Royal supporters rally in Nepal

Posted by Ramesh Khati on September 19, 2009

Nepalese royal supporters march through the capital

Nepalese royal supporters march through the capital

KATHMANDU(AFP) — Hundreds of royal supporters rallied in Nepal’s capital on Friday to protest against the abolition of the monarchy a year ago and to demand a formal referendum on the issue.

Nepal’s former king left his throne in May 2008 after the country’s Maoist government legislated to abolish the world’s last Hindu monarchy and turned the country into a secular republic.

But supporters of the former royals say the people were not consulted on the move, and are demanding a referendum before it is enshrined in the new constitution currently being drafted.

On Friday, around 800 royal supporters marched through the capital playing musical instruments and carrying a huge petition which they said was signed by more than two million people, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

“We want a public referendum to decide on the fate of the monarchy and whether Nepal should be a Hindu state before the new constitution is completed,” said Kamal Thapa, chairman of the pro-monarchy Rastriya Prajatantra Party.

Former king Gyanendra ascended the throne amid grief and suspicion in 2001 after most of the royal family was slain in a palace massacre by the then crown prince Dipendra.

Many ordinary Nepalese were pleased to see the departure of the dour, unpopular monarch and his son and would-be heir, former crown prince Paras, who was notorious for his playboy lifestyle.


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