Police fire on protesting lawyers in Nepal's capital: 3 wounded

Police opened fire on lawyers who staged a protest against the king's rule Thursday in Nepal's capital, wounding three of them, the Nepal Bar Association said.

Several more lawyers were injured by police using batons to break up the demonstration, said Tikaram Bhattarai of the association.

He said that police used live rounds when firing, but this could not be immediately confirmed independently. Police have used both live rounds and rubber bullets against pro-democracy demonstrators in Nepalese cities in recent days.

The wounded were taken to hospitals in Katmandu for treatment.

The demonstration began when about 500 lawyers came out of the association's office in the heart of the Katmandu waving banners and shouting anti-government slogans in a campaign to get King Gyanendra to relinquish direct control over the government.

The association office is next to Singha Durbar, which has all the government ministries and across from the army headquarters.

The government has banned rallies in Katmandu and surrounding area, and hundreds of violators have been beaten and arrested by the police in recent days, since the country's alliance of seven main political parties called a general strike last week.

The protesting lawyers managed to march a few meters (feet) when they were stopped by police who beat them up with bamboo batons, fired a few rounds of tear gas and then opened fire.

Police were still stationed outside the association office long after the clashes and one police official at the scene said they had orders not to allow any protests and to use force if necessary.

Pro-democracy activists have been protesting for more than a week, often ending in clashes between security forces and demonstrators who are demanding King Gyanendra give up power he seized 14 months ago, and restore democracy, reports the AP.


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