Thousands of protesters demonstrated against Nepal's king yesterday, as the monarch marked his 60th birthday with a private ceremony inside the royal palace that was tightly guarded by riot police.
A few hundred supporters were allowed to line up outside the capital's Narayanhiti Royal Palace and present the king with flower bouquets. They chanted slogans and waved banners praising the monarch and some were allowed into the inner lawn where King Gyanendra usually greets his supporters.
About a kilometer south of the palace, some 10,000 protesters demonstrated, shouting, "Gyanendra, leave the country, we want a republic state."
The protest was organized by the several youth and student groups affiliated with Nepal's major political parties and kept a distance from the palace by hundreds of police, some in riot gear.
"The king is a criminal who is yet to be punished, and he is celebrating his birthday spending millions of the people's money. We are opposing this celebration and at the same time demanding that monarchy be completely abolished from Nepal," said Sagar, a local leader of communist rebels.
Hundreds of police were posted around the palace and in key areas of Katmandu to prevent any violence over the weekend.