Nepal: Maoist Lead Strike Paralyzes The Country

On the 1st of May, International Labor Day, Maoists in Nepal launched a nation wide indefinite protest demanding the current government be dissolved and the constitution writing process be re-launched in the earnest.

Strike in Nepal. Picture from Flickr by user Nepaliaashish, posted under Creative Commons License.

As a guest blogger for LarryJhonsonOnline, Nepali blogger and journalist Deepak Adhikari says that the ongoing Maoist lead protest and several preceding protests are a direct result of growing frustration among the people over the current situation of the country. He questions the commitment of the current government to completing the constitution in time, and wonders whether the Maoists are concerned about the regular citizens suffering due to their nation wide protest.

The protest has been largely peaceful so far, but for people the closure of businesses, banks, schools and public transportation has brought hardship – as this video posted at United We Blog for Democratic Nepal shows.

Shreedeep Rayamajhi at GroundReport says that as the protest is entering its fifth day, people are increasingly getting anxious over scarcity of daily necessities.

“The strike certainly seemed to be going in a peaceful way but with the prolonging issues of scarcity and lack of resources it can be ascertained that Maoist supporters are losing their interest. Likewise, numerous cases of Maoist supporter falling ill have been reported where hundreds of the protesters have fled the strike program and returned home looking at the bad management”

Anger among the people over the protest is growing. Blogger Murchunga at YouTube questions the effectiveness and purpose of the Maoist lead protest.

“Protesting leaders become ministers in new government tomorrow…will make fortunes for themselves. The cycle will repeat again when incumbents come to streets tomorrow. While people go home and continue living the same life.”

At Nepali language blog MySansar, Umesh Shrestha has pictures and videos of protest events organized by the Maoists around capital Kathmandu. The pictures show a disturbing practice by the Maoists-using children in the events. Although many child rights organizations have called on the Maoists not to involve children in their political events. However, the call has so far been ignored.

Children are caught in the middle, not only are they being used as props during Maoist political events, they are also unable to attend school because of the protest. More than 8,000 schools across Nepal are closed.

Tourism, the pillar of the Nepalese economy, has also suffered because of the protests. Tourists are now being evacuated from Kathmandu. At PaintDifferent – a blog for twelve artists, blogger Megan writes about her friends who are stuck in Nepal because of the protests.

“Nepal started evacuating tourists using buses escorted by armed police officers yesterday. Sadly, Rob and Paul weren't on a bus and are still stuck where they are. The airport is still open, all be it 140 miles and about 5 hours by car from where they are, but EVERYTHING else is shut down. Needless to say, they’re ready to come safely home and start importing their pictures before things get worse.”

The effect of Maoist lead protest on the already suffering Nepalese economy is on the mind of Chandan Sapkota – a junior fellow for Trade, Equity & Development Program at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. At Twitter, he commented “the Maoists are ruining the economy. Their protest look like a combo of Thai-kyrgyz protest strategy.”

As the debate over the purpose of the Maoist lead protest and its effect on Nepal's uncertain political scene drags on, the public is feeling the protest's pinch and is desperately hoping for a peaceful solution to the current crises.

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