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Nepal police arrest 250 pro-democracy protesters as UN envoy decries rights abuses

[JURIST] Nepal police on Wednesday arrested approximately 250 college professors who were protesting in the town Pokhara against the direct government of King Gyanendra [official profile; BBC profile]. Organizers set up the demonstration in violation of government-imposed curfew meant to curb pro-democracy rallies [JURIST report]. Gyanendra's government has previously announced that anyone violating the curfew would be immediately shot.

Gyanendra seized power [JURIST report] in Nepal last year because he believed it necessary in order to bring political stability and to stop the threat of a Maoist uprising in the country. Ian Martin, head of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal [official website] on Wednesday said that both Maoist guerrillas and the Nepal army have committed flagrant human rights violations [Reuters report] since the two groups declared a cease fire [JURIST report] earlier this year.

Nepal has seen an upsurge in pro-democracy protests [JURIST news archive] in the past several days, even after Gyanendra called for general elections [JURIST report] and a dialogue with his political opponents last week. Over the past two weeks, eight people have died in protests against the royal government, including two protesters who were shot by police [BBC report] on Wednesday. AP has more. eKantipur.com has local coverage.

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