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Pro-democracy protests continue in Nepal as international pressure grows

[JURIST] Pro-democracy protests continued in Nepal [JURIST news archive] on Tuesday, with government employees being arrested for the first time and international pressure from India and several human rights groups being put on King Gyanendra [official website; BBC profile] to resolve the situation. An estimated 20,000 protesters filled the streets of the small western town of Nepalgunj, shouting slogans against King Gyanendra and overwhelming police in the area. In Kathmandu, 25 employees from the Ministry of Home Affairs [official website] were arrested for protesting Gyanendra, while opposition leaders vowed to push forward with a major demonstration on Thursday despite a government ban on protests.

India, Nepal's biggest trading partner, has stepped up pressure ahead of scheduled talks between Indian envoy Karan Singh and the Nepalese government on Thursday. Singh said the government had to engage opposition leaders in talks. Also Tuesday, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists [advocacy websites] urged countries to apply sanctions [press release] against Nepal by barring entry of top Nepalese officials and freezing their assets. King Gyanendra has faced a wave of unrest after seizing power [JURIST report] last year, despite promising to hold democratic elections [JURIST report]. AFP has more.

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