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Nepal pro-democracy protests gain momentum

[JURIST] Eight thousand pro-democracy protesters [JURIST news archive] assembled in Nepal's capital city of Kathmandu Saturday in the largest demonstration against the rule of King Gyanendra [official profile; BBC profile] since the current round of protests began over a week ago. An alliance of seven opposition political parties, including the Communist Party of Nepal [party website], has been waging a general strike against Gyanendra's rule and protests continue despite Gyanendra's promise to hold general elections [JURIST report] by April 2007. Gyanendra has made similar promises in the past and the opposition is demanding that he step down immediately. Reuters has more.

Also in Kathmandu Saturday, police used batons to attack a rally staged by about 200 local journalists, including members of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists [advocacy website], as they gathered to protest government curbs on press freedom. Nepalese police reportedly wounded seven journalists and detained at least twice that many. Reuters has more. AP has additional coverage. eKantipur.com has local coverage.

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