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Nepal detains 250 democracy marchers as high court hears anti-corruption challenge

[JURIST] Nepali police Tuesday detained at least 250 pro-democracy activists - including a former deputy prime minister - for defying a ban on demonstrations in the Kathmandu city center. Protestors from seven major political parties took to the streets to condemn the February seizure of power [JURIST report] by King Gyanendra [BBC profile]. Organizers insist that the number arrested is closer to 500, and witnesses say the police beat activists with canes while taking them into custody. Gyanendra took unilateral control of the government February 1, claiming that civilian politicians had failed to crush a bloody Maoist revolt against his rule; he lifted a formal state of emergency in the country in May, but protests have continued [JURIST report] in the face of continued restrictions on civil liberties. Reuters has more.

Also in Nepal [JURIST news archive] Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Nepal [official website] began hearing a challenge to the constitutionality [JURIST report] of the Royal Commission for Corruption Control, an anti-corruption body appointed by the king, which had previously jailed former prime minister [JURIST report] Sher Bahadur Deuba [Wikipedia profile]. Lawyers claim the body is undemocratic and unconstitutional and should be dissolved. The king maintains the constitution allows him to issue orders that defend the nation's laws with the consent of parliament. However, the king disbanded the parliament in 2002. UPI has more.

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