General Strike Day I Diary

Day 1 of four-day General Strike paralyzed lives in Nepal closing down the capital and transportation as protesters playing ‘catch me if you can’ game with police

By Ujjwal Acharya

The morning was as beautiful as usual. It looked all normal sans the rush of traffic and noise of blowing horns. People leisurely strolling around; chatting at tea-shops and commenting on the stories published in the newspapers.

But nothing was as usual in lives of the people of Kathmandu Valley. Though after a number of strikes in the past, strikes have become habitual to the lives of the people, it still affects their lives. They have to walk if they are employed or otherwise sit idle watching television or playing cards.

Throughout the day, I accompanied with photojournalist Bikash Karki went around the city to see the happenings. These happenings probably best reflect how the general strike went on the first day.

NEW BANESHWOR, 9:30am

When we reached the area, we saw ashes of burnt tyres and all but there was no one. We met a friend who was a protester. He told us that they burnt the tyre and were chased down by the police who put off the fire and tried to clear the dust. He said they would do it again.

It was a little away from the main intersection so we returned to the main intersection where we met a few friends including Saroj Raj Adhikari. They told us a motorbike was burnt down at Teku. Saroj showed me the picture (posted in this entry).

TEKU, 9:45am

The burnt motorbike was there on a side with policemen and army watching it. A lot of people were watching the proceedings who were occasionally asked to move away the policemen. Bikash took a few photographs and we moved.

TEACHING HOSPITAL, 10:00am


Photo by Bikash Karki

We had heard that the doctors in Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital Maharajgunj were staging a protest. When we reached the hospital, journalists form various national and international agencies were already there. There were a few doctors and nurses.

I remembered, not so vividly, the doctors with black band around their arms watching down from the roof of Bir Hospital in 1990. I always believed it was a turning point for the dawn of democracy two days after it then. The doctors remembered the day and requested the King not to force them come to street again.

Dr. Badri Narsingh KC was said to have been intimidated by the police in the morning and he was admitted in the emergency. He was beaten for nothing and doctors were furious about it. Though I don’t see large number of doctors attending the program, it was good example of how the fight of democracy is spreading.

Dr. Subash Acharya later texted me informing that the operation of the injured doctor went all well.

NEW BANESHWOR, 11:00am


Photo by Bikash Karki

When we were just riding bike lazily we saw a group engineering students (becasue they were all carrying the long ruler) walking towards Bhaktapur. Bikash took a few snaps and they are all teasing su saying ‘Press’.

We asked them if they were returning from exam and they responded positively. They were from Bhaktapur and their exam center was Thapathali.

We just speeded and would meet them at Jadibuti after some 45 minutes waving at us.

RATOPUL, 12:30pm


Photo by Bikash Karki

After having lunch and spending some time at office, we went to Ratopul where we were informed popular student leader Gagan Thapa was making an appearance. When we went there two ladies were chanting slogans around the burning fire at the road.

Gagan Thapa with a few of his friends came out on the street, chanted slogans walking around a 100 meters to the fire and addressed a small gathering there. He is a good speaker and a most vibrant against the royal regime so many people, who I believe were just onlookers clapped for him.

He then entered into a nook with his friends and after around 10 minutes of that police van entered the scene. The first police van poured two bottles of water on the fire and went away. The second one put off the fire and when the third one came there, the policemen entered another road asking the young people to produce their identities.

Ramesh Chandra Regmi, a local, was not happy that his tenants were being asked to produce identity for nothing.

REPORTERS’ CLUB, 2:00pm

We then went to Reporters’ Club where the family of kidnapped Chief District Officer of Sarlahi made an appeal to everybody for his release. I didn’t know but I happened to be near to the family.

First because they were living in my village and second because the brother of the CDO happened to the lawyer who had helped me during my early college time by giving me details of legal provision on foreign employment. I much appreciated his half-hour time to me because it was just a college project and I had told him it won’t be published anywhere. Unfortunately, I never met him again and this time to didn’t get chance to talk with him.

At the program, I also realized how a family suffers. A son came to Kathmandu paying Rs. 1500 to a taxi and they were all requesting to release him soon as he was patient of diabetes and high blood pressure and was on everyday medication.

I hope the Maoists would release him soon.

NEW BANESHWOR, 3:00pm


Photo by Shruti Shreshta

Once again we missed the burning tyre at Baneshwor because when we reached there police had already arrived and chased down the protesters. The police also arrested four at the place. We met the guy again and he said that’s all for the day.

TINKUNE, 6:30pm

I heard the slogan chanting while I was browsing the internet. When I looked out of the window, I saw a group of youngsters burning tryr just outside our office and chanting slogans. They spread when a police van arrived. The police put off the fire.

The youngster began once again 100m east from the point and I went to the scene. They were chanting slogans while the policemen watched them from the earlier site. As soon as I reached the place, the police advanced and the protesters went around. A few of army vehicles passed the scene without stopping.

At the same time, I heard from Bikash, at Minbhawan, the policemen had to fire a few rubber bullets and tear-gas to end the protest and clear the road. One tear-gas shell even landed on the roof of a civilian’s house.

At Tinkune too, police fired rubber-bullets and chased them through narrow roads. Within a few minutes there were hundreds of police while the anti-King slogans were being heard occasionally. Later, the police then arrested a guy from the shop just outside the main gate of the Kantipur Complex.


Photo by Shruti Shrestha

47 thoughts on “General Strike Day I Diary”

  1. here they go again. first they shutdown the country and then walk around counting anything they like. but hey, by this time these politician must have realized that they dont have any popular support. streets are quite. very few vehicles. then few young fellas came chanting–or singing i dont know–slogan and soon disappeared in the quiteness of street.

    this is what happen when you do two things at a time–first you shutdown country and then call for mass rally.

    second thing is people of kathmandu dont feel like protesting because KG is not here. afterall this strike is against him. so leader should take strike to pokhara or wherever KG goes. that will make their protest effective.

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  2. pawan the hydro-man,
    i partially agree with your suggestion
    i was also thinking of balancing the action
    the pyro-action should be half and half: half in Kathmandu and half wherever KG is
    take half of the movement force where KG is, and confront him head-to-head
    and see the effect
    i think this should yield the result quicker

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  3. I was ready for a big protest and I was out. I cannot believe these political parties could not even garner support of ten thousand people after so much “We will show you” talk. What was all that.

    Well they knew that there would be mass arrests, curfews and others. How could you not be prepared? This is just not embarrassing but demoralizing. No more protests for me. I am saying bye to Democracy and hi to Dictatorcracy for ever because with Gynendra’s stance of, “I don’t give a darn what happens to anywhere except Kathmandu” and political parties stance of, “We will not just fail but fail miserably”, there is not much to hope.

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  4. Whole nation is under tension due to blockades, bandhs but our BELOVED KG is doing this … read;
    Their Majesties offer prayer at Ram Madir in Pokhara

    Their Majesties King Gyanendra and Queen Komal, who are in Pokhara on an unofficial visit of the western development region offered worship at the Ram Mandir in Birauta of Pokhara Thursday on the occasion of Ram Navami.

    Are they kidding ?

    A chopper is shot down all the crew members 10 people died due to crash, attacks are being made by maoist morons everywhere outside valley.
    Army and üpolice is bg fighting maoists outside vally, and controlling mobs inside valley and Mr. KG is bg doing this?

    I think this king has gone compeltely MENTAL!!!.

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  5. well what to say about our country the country is in the critical conditions and the stupid king is busy visiting the nonsence placeses and enjoying the damn holidays. If he really wants the break through then common now its the time to do or to leave it now the nepalese have understood what the freedom is and what the human rights so if the time will like this for more 4/5 years then our country will be like the somalia and some others so we and the government and the king and the all the political parties and the maosists its time to think or our country. lets all save our country

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  6. You think??? He is also consulting with various tantrics and sacrificing goats are every major kali temple. He has spent more time doing such things since Feb 1st then anything else.

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  7. It is clear that this Bandha is different than those of the Maoist.
    It is supported not out of fear but out of support for Republicism.

    The King cannot continue to hide in Pokhara and act as if he were in control. HIS SON CP PARES IS THE MOST HATED MAN IN THE COUNTRY AND WILL NEVER COME TO POWER.

    There are many in the RNA who are not in support of King Gyanendra and will not fight for a failed monarchy.

    The road to the New Republic will not be easy but Nepal has only one path to Peace and that is to establish the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF NEPAL !

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  8. Back in 1990s, people believed they had to be anti-Indian to be patriotic Nepali. Now it is crystal clear that it was a ploy to continue the authoratarian regime. Shame on all you Royalists, this is 21st century and you still believe on feudal system? I would not like to turn my clock 200 years back, would you? Who ever comes to power is not the point here, the point here is ‘Does this country belong to a handfuls?” Pity we are fighting for democarcy in todays world. This phase should have been ended 60 years back.

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  9. Honest:
    Thank you for your comments but do you really have to post your comments everywhere?? One thread should be enough.

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  10. This short of protests will not do. we should organize the non cooperative movement like in Indian indepedence. All beaurocrats and workers should stop going to offices and work places.

    Other faster way would be that military should also not cooperate and stop following orders.

    Other good suggestion may be to particpate overwhelmingly in the elections of the parliament instead of boycotting it. Just till before three months of elections, all paties should announce that they are going to participate in the elections and capture all seats of parliament and do the necessary amendments of the constitution rather than boycotting the elections.By boycotting the elections, KG would hold the power for ever and parties will go down in the history.

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  11. Thank you for your comments but do you really have to post your comments everywhere?? One thread should be enough.

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  12. I have nothing to say to the protests and the government cackdown but i heally hate those who burn tires in the middle of the street.Why dont you burn yourselves.That would be better.Morons!!

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  13. KING FOR PEOPLE OR PEOPLE FOR KING

    Obviously there is only a few people who wants King rule.
    If King wants to be king of all then seeing the mood of people he should immediately return power to people.

    When nation is facing lots of crisis King is busy in celebrating holiday. May god make him pro people else
    people will decide his fate.

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  14. To those tire burning people,
    Please dont burn tires,or uproot those pavement railings.They are of no good.They dont do any good.KG is not going to give you freedom just because you burnt some tires and did some uprootings.If you have courage go kill that KG if you cant kill yourselves!!!

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  15. 1990: I was out on the streets myself supporting Krishna Bhattarai, Madan Bhandari, Ganeshman and the like.
    2006: I’m home after a walk about and a drink of fresh fruit juice at one of the fruit shops, and it’s pretty quiet out there, besides the sporadic tire burns and hustle and bustle of the few henchmen. The media seem to focus their cameras a bit too closely to one tyre burn. Unlike in 1990 where masses including me gathered everywhere shouting “Prajatantra jindabad”.
    The parties have to get rid of the old and corrupt and bring in the new, and they should not align with the Maoists Marxist agenda, the same by the book methods they have used all over the world. They are just fooling the parties. The first people that they will slit the throsts of if they ever come to power (god forbid) will be these party people’s.

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  16. Thanks for remembering me Sleek!
    I am reading but can’t write i am making a presentation for a new research topic n getting crazy.
    It is called “MIMO precoding”, if any of you here have any idea, or working on the topic, let me know, can share ideas.
    BYE

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  17. Thanks for remembering me Sleek!
    I am reading but can’t write i am making a presentation for a new research topic n getting crazy.
    It is called “MIMO precoding”, if any of you here have any idea, or working on the topic, let me know, can share ideas.
    BYE

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  18. By the way, does the SPA include the maoists as well. If not, then it should be called an eight party alliance or EPA, maybe it sounds too much like ETA to do so.

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  19. Is it “gp” or KG ?
    The Maoist are, and will be part of a New Peaceful Nepal.
    The :throat-slitting, rape, dissapearences, torture, un-just arrest,harassment of
    civil-society, police brutality has, as every Human Rights Group and the UN has reported, comes largely from the Government (RNA).

    Yes the 7-Party Alliance will soon include not just the Maoist but many other smaller parties as Nepal moves toward a Democratic republic

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  20. Vandeveer,
    You have asked for my name once again as you have done a few months ago? This is all getting too boring, especially as you don’t seem to like my replies and questions on your name, as you will see from my answer to the same old question by you. I shall not repeat what has been said before as it will bore everyone else including myself on this forum.

    Please go start your own revolution to make Hawaii a different country from the U.S. I’m sure you have plenty of ammunition of Marxist propoganda for that island to swallow as well.

    Aloha!!!

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  21. D.MICHAEL VANDEVEER ,

    Human rights reports are all well and good. But it would be utterly naive to think that these same Maoists that you support have not violated human rights to the nth degree themselves. It will also be naive to think that human rights data is gathered with the same frequency and acess from a government force as from a underground insurgent group. And short of not having a conflict involving weapons, it is the utmost naive to think that violent wars, insurgencies whatever you may call them for a lengthy period of time pass off without any human rights violations. The nature of this beast called war is it self not very human at all.
    It’s all very well for you to sit in your room in an ideal world and blast out a few words but when the first bullet goes whizzing past your head at arms length – most of the people who do the real fighting for you and thereby create the world that we live in will not be thinking about your politics.

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  22. Forward to People’s Republic of Nepal!

    MAOIST_REVOLUTION. (MARXISM-LENINISM-MAOISM) The list is open to people who are at the very least anti-imperialist and want to learn more on issues at stake. M_R will give regular updates from various sources on the People`s War`s being waged in NEPAL, PERU, INDIA, TURKEY, PHILLIPINES as well as other struggles including Armed Struggles being waged by Maoist forces and people’s Wars being prepared in IRAN, BANGLADESH, SRI LANKA, BHUTAN etc in the service of the WORLD REVOLUTION to liberate humanity from the dog-eat-dog system of Capitalism/imperialsm. MAOIST REVOLUTION will also post statements from Maoist parties around the Globe when they arrive. Members are encouraged to search for statements / articles in relation to these. MAOIST REVOLUTION understands that the World is divided into Oppressed / Oppressor Nations that Africa, Asia and Latin America are the Storm centres of the WORLD REVOLUTION. World revolution can only succeed if the proletariat of capitalist countries supports struggles for liberation of colonial semi-colonial peoples and prepares for People’s War / Revolution themselves.

    MAOIST_REVOLUTION -subscribe@ yahoogroups.com

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  23. sorry guys,
    i was thinking of sparing some KG buildings, but no, we need to burn down Narayanhiti Raj Durbar,
    if we get a chance, we cannot spare it
    we have decided to burn down everything that stands for KG and his cronies
    a little loss for the nation at this point
    but a gain later
    do not worry
    we will rebuild the burnt down infrastructure and public buildings
    i have to go, duty calls on the street

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  24. Vandeveer,

    I thought the U.S. (your country) is a democracy, an example of the best form. What struggle and what boundaries do you mean? Is it a struggle for your Marxist form of democracy, at your interpretation and your bidding?

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  25. p.s. “Free Hawaii from the U.S.”, and after that what will the Hawaiians achieve – chaos like in Haiti. Hawaii has done pretty damned well under the U.S.

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  26. And an elephant, “does pretty damed well” under a mahout.. but the elephant had rather be free.

    The elephant is cought in the wild,”tamed” and never has the chance to even feed itself without a master.

    Maybe the desire to be “free” is Marxist to you but not for me.

    When conditions improve in Nepal and there is education, medical & health care, food, and some opportunity to do more than sit by a pile of rocks, with-a-hammer, there will be no more need for Maoist, but for those who have never been represented, protected, or had any chance… Marxism is their first step.

    Mao so properly put it,
    “the longest march begins with a single step”.
    When the pesants can join us on the internet the Maoist will represent that painful first step for many.

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  27. If people want Marxism, they should be allowed it. The process is called democracy. The Russians and the Chinese didn’t want it. They were forced into accepting it.

    That’s the only real danger with being too pally with the Maoists. With their worldwide history of forcing people at gunpoint to march to their orders, whether they want to or not, you can never be too sure with them.

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  28. people want democracy not communism. if you want communism for yourself join maoists or do something like that.

    let us pray eight parties(SPA and king) work together and stop further bloodshed in the name of mao.

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  29. i did not know that hydro-man is a royalist,
    working here to save the crown,
    or perhaps the Shah-wadi,
    trying to secure royal funds that he has received,
    or he could be working with the hope of George Bush’s invitation, trying to please Indian and the Bush conservatism.
    anyway, Vandeveer, you sound reasonable,
    these royal kids are too blind to converse with,
    forget about them,
    let us keep fighting for the left cause, i.e. liberation for the marginalized, the oppressed,
    see you, the true champion of liberation, in the street
    Street is where we do our actions,
    not here in the net, talking nonsense with the KG’s paid workers

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  30. “An elephant does pretty damned well under a mahout”, but so does a dog do pretty damned well under an owner.

    Let the elephant go wild or free as you call it and the animal will be trampling on your crops, and the mahout is out of a job, and the elephant ends up getting killed. So your fprm of freedom Vandeveer, ends up in the sink for all concerned.

    Like

  31. The crap value of this blog is coming up. Negative attracts negative? SPAM of Nepal is attracting online SPAM. Read the above two messages and links. Hehe.

    Like

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