Royalist protest paralyses Nepal capital
Mon, Feb 22, 2010

KATHMANDU, Feb 22, 2010 (AFP) - Supporters of Nepal's deposed royal family brought the capital Kathmandu to a standstill on Monday in protest against the abolition of the world's last Hindu monarchy.

Shops remained shut and vehicles stayed off the roads after the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N), a minor political party that wants Nepal to revert to a Hindu monarchy, declared a general strike.

Nepal's 240-year-old royal dynasty was abolished in 2008 after the Maoists came to power following a general election and forced the unpopular ex-king Gyanendra off the throne.

The RPP-N says the public should have been consulted and is demanding a retrospective referendum on the decision to abolish the monarchy and transform the country into a secular republic.

"Our main objective is to ask for a referendum on the Hindu state and the fate of the monarchy," party leader Kunti Kumari Shahi told AFP.

Around 500 protesters waved party flags and chanted royalist slogans including "Establish Hindu rule" and "We don't want a republic".

Police said the protest was largely peaceful, although witnesses reported seeing vehicles vandalised and tyres burned.

"There is no transportation on the streets," said police officer Prakash Karki. "However, we have not recorded any disturbances or scuffles so far."

The RPP-N is one of the smallest parties in Nepal's 601-member parliament with just four members.

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