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Nepal government cracks down on planned protests

[JURIST] King Gyanendra [official website; BBC profile] and the royal government of Nepal [JURIST news archive] on Tuesday banned all public meetings in the cities of Kathmandu and Lalitpur, a move the opposition has vowed to fight. The ban, which goes into effect Wednesday, is aimed at curbing anti-government protests, including a pro-democracy protest planned for Saturday supported by seven opposition parties. The seven-party alliance has also called for a nationwide general strike beginning Thursday. AP has more. At least a dozen students at two college campuses in the capital were detained earlier on Tuesday while demonstrating in support of the opposition's campaign. eKantipur.com has local coverage. BBC News has background.

A similar crackdown on protests occurred in January, when the Nepalese government arrested over 52 senior politicians and human rights activists [JURIST report] before an anti-government demonstration, a move criticized [AI press release] by international human rights groups. AFP has more.

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