Maoists beat up journalists during anti-govt Maoist protest

Even after withdrawing their indefinite general strike, hundreds of Maoists on Sunday clashed with police and beat up journalists.

Kathmandu: Even after withdrawing their
indefinite general strike, hundreds of Maoists on Sunday clashed
with police and beat up journalists as they encircled the seat
of government here in a bid to force the ruling coalition to
quit, leading to injuries to at least 18 people.

Unified CPN-Maoist activists surrounded the Singhdurbar
secretariat, the main administrative building of the
government here, two days after calling off their week-old
indefinite anti-government general strike across the country.

During the protest today, a cameraman was severely beaten
up by Maoist cadres as he tried to take a picture of policemen
who arrived on a van at the restricted area at
Maitigharmandala near Singhdurbar, police said.

The former rebels also thrashed another two TV crew
members, forcing police to intervene.

The three journalists were among 18 people injured during
the Maoist protest, which came after Maoist chairman Prachanda
warned the media against criticising the former rebels.

Among the three journalists was an Avenues television
cameraman who sustained head injury and whose camera was also
damaged during the Maoist attack. Another television cameraman
belonging to Image Channel also sustained injuries.

Police had to intervene to rescue the journalists leading
to a clash with the Maoists in which three policemen,
including DSP Bhola Rawal, and a dozen former rebels were

At the end of their week-long strike, Maoist chief
Prachanda had said the former rebels would not spare anyone if
the media tried to give negative picture of the Maoists while
reporting about the agitation.

He also warned Kathmandu`s middle-class people, saying
that they would record everything in their memory if anybody
misbehaved with Maoist cadres, who have come to the capital
from different districts to participate in the agitation.

After withdrawing their indefinite strike, the Maoists
have been staging protests in front of government
administrative buildings and district administrative offices
in various parts of the country, including Kathmandu.

After intensified public pressure and diplomatic
efforts, the Maoists on Friday night decided to withdraw their
strike, which was in place since May 2.

Ruling alliance members like Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and
Sadbhavana Party welcomed the Maoists` decision to
withdraw the indefinite strike, which had caused hardship to
the people.