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Question of the Day
KATMANDU, Nepal (Agence France-Presse) - Nepal´s Maoists said yesterday that they were pouring tens of thousands of members of their feared youth wing into the capital ahead of this week´s anticipated abolition of the monarchy.
The mobilization comes as authorities said they were boosting security in Katmandu to enforce a ban on demonstrations - both for and against embattled King Gyanendra.
A top Maoist official said the former rebels only intended to “celebrate” the king´s departure and would respect security restrictions barring them from attempting to lay siege or storm the royal palace.
“This is going to be a celebration and a display of our strength and our victory, but we will stay away from prohibited areas,” he told Agence France-Presse.
Authorities in the capital said they have banned demonstrations and mass meetings in four places around Katmandu and are planning to deploy an extra 5,000 security personnel.
“The government has announced special prohibitory orders from today that forbid rallies or protests in certain sensitive areas including the royal palace and the constituent assembly venue,” said Katmandu Police Chief Sarbendra Khanal.
A new constitutional assembly - in which the Maoists won the most seats during elections in April - is due to formally abolish the monarchy tomorrow.
The end of the 240-year-old Shah dynasty will be a major victory for the Maoists, who launched a “people´s war” in 1996 aimed at toppling the monarchy and establishing a communist republic.
The Maoists have promised to follow democratic norms, but the movement - including the youth wing being mobilized in Katmandu - faces allegations that their cadre continue to commit serious human rights abuses, including abduction, extortion and murder.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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