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Security Forces in Nepal Open Fire on Protesters, One Killed


Security forces in Nepal are reported to have opened fire on activists protesting against King Gyanendra's absolute rule, killing one person.

Witnesses say the incident took place today in the resort town of Pokhara, about 200 kilometers west of Nepal's capital, Kathmandu.

Nepal's royal government warned earlier today that security officers in the capital would shoot anyone who violates an 11 hour daytime curfew imposed around Kathmandu. Nepal's main political parties had been expected to hold a third day of mass demonstrations against King Gyanendra's absolute rule. A four-day general strike began Thursday.

More than 750 people have been detained since the protests began.

Elsewhere in Nepal, officials say nine Maoist rebels and three security officers were killed in overnight clashes in two southwest towns 300 kilometers from the capital.

Authorities say rebels attacked security bases in Taulihawa and nearby Butwal.

The United Nations and several countries, including the United States, have condemned the crackdown and urged the king to release the detained activists.

King Gyanendra dismissed the government and seized absolute power in February of last year. He said he had to act because the previous government failed to stop the nearly decade-long Maoist insurgency.

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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