Banned demonstrations in Nepal draw light attendance, prompt more arrests: UN

7 April 2006

Amid concern over a looming confrontation developing in Nepal, where the Government banned protests on the eve of demonstrations by opposition parties, the United Nations’ human rights unit reported today that fewer than expected protesters showed up but arrests occurred as soon as the demonstrations began.

A spokesman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said its office in the capital, Kathmandu, also reported that most demonstrations had been peaceful, and that it would continue to monitor the protests along with the response of the police and security forces.

On Wednesday, Secretary-General Kofi Annan voiced concerned over the brewing confrontation just before the so-called “Seven-Party Alliance” was to begin the banned protests and after many government opponents were reported arrested.

“While maintenance of law and order is the responsibility of the State, security considerations should not be the basis for denying citizens their right to peaceful protest – a right for which virtually all avenues seem to be closing,” Mr. Annan said through a spokesman.


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