Democratic rights suspended. The people of Nepal are locked in a battle to restore their basic democratic rights. On 1 February, King Gyanendra abrogated the constitution, declared a state of emergency and imposed a reign of terror. No section of society is safe. Union offices have been closed and leaders arrested. Journalists can be jailed if they “defame the Kingdom.” Five are being held indefinitely without trial and one has been killed. On April 13 — Nepalese New Year — the Kathmandu Police attacked a group of metis, the local name for transgendered people. Nine were severely beaten. In May, 25 armed and masked security officers raided the offices of the Communist Party during a funeral for an eminent woman leader. Several arrests were made. Meetings of more than three people are banned! Very little news is getting out because of the censorship.
Defiant. The Nepalese people are bravely resisting. Despite the repression, pro-democracy protests continue. All political parties are calling on their members to defy bans and demonstrate. Six hundred and fourteen people were arrested during protests on March 20. Some are still in custody, but this did not crush the movement. On May 23, 10,000 protesters defied heavily-armed security forces. Workers internationally are organising in solidarity. The Thai Labour Movement and Asian Women Workers group held protests at the Nepalese Embassy. The United Nepalese Front of Europe mobilised supporters to protest in Frankfurt. The International Transport Workers Federation coordinated an international day of union protest. Hundreds of members of the Indian Trade Union Congress rallied outside the Nepalese Embassy in New Delhi to protest against Gyanendra’s repression.
Solidarity required. Get behind the Nepalese struggle to restore democratic rights. Help break the news blackout. Participate in solidarity actions. Send protests to the Embassy, demanding an immediate restoration of democratic and trade union rights and freedom for all political prisoners. (Nepalese Honorary Consul-General, 3F, 441 Kent Street, Sydney NSW 2000.) Insist that governments, such as that of India, cease funding and arming the Royal butchers in Nepal.