Down with Autocracy: Protesters in Baneshor
5:45 pm Update
I am just back from the Baneshor area. People in unprecedented numbers have thronged in the streets. Army’s mini-tanks are plying in the street. People are walking in the streets defying curfew while the security personnel have turned into mere spectators. This is an utter failure of the state and a near-victory of people’s power. King is rumored to address at 7 pm. Every one is curious about what a beleaguered monarch has to say.
At 3:30 pm, around five thousand protesters defied curfew here in Tinkune. These protesters were a part of large mass of around fifty thousand in Baneshor. They arrived from Koteshor area and entered the main road bypassing a police beat in Tinkune. Few army men were stationed near Koteshor. We all Kantipur staffs either reached there or watched from windows, rooftops. It was a peaceful protest. But, leaders like Ram Kumari Jhakri were finding hard to convince the mass. After 10 minutes, another security enforcement arrived. But, as the mass was only chanting slogans, carrying banners and branches of trees, the forerunners were able to divert the mass towards alley leading them to Koteshor.
Here at UP Policlinic, people sprinkled water to the protesters. They looked jovial, were enthusiastic and very disciplined. The leaders were requesting them not to pelt stones. For a while, the area got tense, but it was soon over. Yesterdy’s massacre in Kalanki has given an impetus to fight for their rights. As I write this at 4:30, I can hear protesters wistling, yelling and cheering.
Protesters have lined up from Kalanki to Sanepa in Ring Road. This mass is estimated to be 2 lakhs. Similarly, according to co-blogger Saroj Raj Adhikari, people are stretched from Koteshor to Ekantakuna forming a huge human chain.
Police opened fire at protesters in Gwarko.
Half a dozen tanks are placed surrounding the Narayanhity Royal Palace. What does this mean? King is feeling insecure under his turf. He is trying to prevent the uprising from entering the palace.
Just a little away in Gongabu, the place of massive protest, now some 30 thousand protesters are peacefully marching towards Chabahil. Security force is heavily deployed but they have not yet disrupted. Big logs are placed in the Ring Road (from Gongabu to Kalanki). In Banasthali, where a police beat was demolished yesterday, peaceful protest is going on. In Kalanki, yesterday’s battle field, numerous foreign media have stationed; protesters have taken control of Kalanki. Two motorbikes were damaged by protesters today morning. Security forces are staying in Balkhu side of Ring Road. The protesters are demanding the dead bodies of martyrs whose bodies were taken away by the state.
CURFEW EXTENDED. KATHMANDU PAPERS SHRINK:
As 25- hour-curfew ended today morning at 3am, people heaved a sigh of relief. Today, curfew starts at 9 am and ends at 8 pm. In the streets of Kathmandu, few vehicles are plying. In our office here at Nepal Magazine, (Tinkune, Kathmandu) staffs started arriving from the morning. Meanwhile, today’s Kantipur is only 8 pages (regular it is 12), The Kathmandu Post 4 pages (regular it is 8 pages) that too black-and-white, reminiscent of pre-color era. This is ironical while the king wants to rule in medieval way ie Dark Age.
Even Gorkhapatra is reduced to 4 page from regular 12. But, Kantipur and The Kathmandu Post are only printed in black. The Kalanki massacre has received international coverage. Nepali media too highlighted the police barbarism.
According to co-blogger Tilak Pathak, protests have resumed in Kalanki; people are hurriedly walking towards their home.