Q&a: Nepal Crisis
Q&A: Nepal crisis
The latest turmoil in Nepal has its roots in the decision by King Gyanendra to sack his government and assume direct powers back in February 2005. The move came after a long period of political upheaval and amid a bloody campaign by Maoist rebels. How serious are the current demonstrations against the king?
Protests led by parties opposed to the king have snowballed recently to include people from all walks of life. The demonstrations in towns and cities across Nepal are the biggest for 15 years, when pro-democracy rallies forced the then king, Birendra, to give up powers and allow the kingdom's first democratic elections. After the latest protests reached a deafening pitch, King Gyanendra appeared on television to say he would return power to the people. He asked the opposition to nominate a prime minister, but he gave no date for elections to be held. Observers say with international pressure mounting on him and the mood among his opponents at home hardening, particularly after the deaths of a number of protesters at the hands of the security forces, the king had few other options. But whether his concessions are enough to satisfy the opposition and quell the protests remains to be seen.