Last year, the Maoist Rebels gave up their 10 year struggle, which was at times bloody, in order to take part in the process of forming a new government. They were one of eight factions that were trying to create a new system that moved away from the monarchy that has long been a part of Nepal’s history. Apparently, the discussions broke down when the Maoists accused King Gyanendra of attempting to influence and sabotage the elections, scheduled for November, in his favor.
At this point, it’s difficult to know what the next move is. The reports are that several thousand supporters of the rebels have taken to the streets of Kathmandu to express their support for the Maoists, and to demonstrate against the interim government. These kinds of protest were quite common during the decade of unrest in Nepal that saw over 13,000 people killed.
With the Fall climbing season upon us, any unrest now could be disastrous. In years past, trekkers and climbers were often beset by the rebels in remote areas and shook down for cash. With the signing of the peace accords last Fall, it looked like Nepal was finally going to have stability, allowing for safe travel once more. It also meant a likely end to the general strikes that plagued the country each year as the tourists and climbers arrived. Thankfully, most of the climbers have already left Kathmandu and are either on their respective mountains or at least en route.
It should be interesting to see how all of this plays out.
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