Thousands march against Nepal PM’s dissolution of parliament

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Protesters affiliated with a faction of the ruling Nepal Communist Party take part in a rally against the dissolution of parliament, in Kathmandu, Nepal December 29, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Thousands of opponents of Nepal’s Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli marched through the streets of Kathmandu on Tuesday urging him to reverse his decision to dissolve parliament and call for early elections.

The protesters, who say his decision on Dec. 20 was unconstitutional, rallied outside his office despite coronavirus curbs on gatherings.

Oli says internal squabbling and a lack of cooperation from his party have paralysed decision-making, forcing him to seek a new popular mandate.

Police officials overseeing security said at least 10,000 people were on the streets to participate in the march, one of the most intense protests the country has witnessed since Oli dissolved parliament.

“We have tactfully managed the rally of about 10,000 protesters,” said Basanta Bahadur Kunwar, a police spokesman.

Protesters affiliated with a faction of the ruling Nepal Communist Party demonstrate with slogans reading “Cancel unconstitutional coup and begin the parliament” during a rally against the dissolution of parliament, in Kathmandu, Nepal December 29, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

The country’s top court will in January continue hearing dozens of petitions filed against Oli’s political move and his plans to press ahead with parliamentary elections next year on April 30 and May 10, less than two years before the scheduled date.

“The prime minister has no authority to dissolve the parliament under the constitution. Therefore, he should reverse his decision immediately,” said 19-year-old student Rajesh Thapa, waving a flag with a red hammer and sickle printed on it, a symbol of the ruling Communist party.

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