Over 100 arrested in Nepal as vandalism marks anti-government protests

Kathmandu, Feb 4 (efe-epa).- Nepal police on Thursday arrested at least 100 protesters after vandalism marked a country-wide general strike against the government of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

The call to strike was given by the ruling Nepal Communist Party’s splinter faction led by former guerrilla commander Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and former communist prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.

They have opposed the Oli government’s move to appoint 32 officials to 11 constitutional bodies.

The splinter faction alleges that the appointments were unconstitutional since Oli dissolved parliament on Dec.20 in a controversial move that has been challenged in court.

They said the new officials were appointed in breach of procedures without a parliamentary hearing.

The strike was called against the Oli government’s unconstitutional move to appoint officials to various constitutional bodies, Prachanda told protesters at Satdobato in Lalitpur district where he led the demonstration.

“We are compelled to hold the general strikes against the Oli’s unconstitutional move,” Prachanda said, adding that more protests would be held later in the month.

The strike on Thursday affected normal life across the country, including the capital Kathmandu.

Protests turned violent at some places amid incidents of vandalism and arson.

Transport service, markets, educational institutions remained shut during the strike, police spokesperson Sushil Singh Rathour told EFE.

Rathour said more than 100 people were rounded up across the country.

“The police have arrested those who were involved in vandalism.”

He said demonstrators set ablaze a parked taxi in Gongabu while another vehicle in Jaya Bageshwori was also damaged.

The Dahal-Nepal faction has been up in arms ever since Oli dissolved the parliament.

They have held various mass gatherings and demonstrations in several parts of the country since then.

The two factions came to power as an alliance in February 2018 after winning a majority in the general elections.

They merged in May that year to give the government the most popular support in Nepal in the last two decades.

But frictions between the two sides began appearing last year when Dahal demanded that power be shared alternatively between them.

Following the refusal by Oli, who was also accused of promoting corruption, the party began making preparations to dismiss him.

The prime minister preempted their move and dissolved the parliament. EFE-EPA

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