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Thousand of Nepalese Protesters Defy Curfew, Clash with Police


Thousands of pro-democracy protesters in Nepal have clashed with police after defying a daytime curfew and shoot-on-sight orders imposed by the royal government.

The latest violence came at the end of the fourth day of nationwide strikes Sunday called by the country's seven main political parties, with the support of Maoist rebels.

In the capital, Kathmandu, police are reported to have fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse anti-government demonstrators who gathered in at least four locations and threw stones at security forces.

At least four people were injured in the clashes.

Tensions ran especially high in the southern town of Bharatpur and western town of Pokhara where troops fired on demonstrators Saturday, killing two people.

Officials say riot police opened fire in self defense. Since the protests began Thursday, authorities have detained more than 770 people.

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

A senior member of the Nepali Congress Democratic Party, Minendra Rijal said a popular movement against King Gyanendra is growing in the country.

The Nepalese monarch dismissed the government and seized absolute power in February of last year.

He said he had to act because politicians had failed to quell a decade-long Maoist insurgency, which has left more than 12-thousand people dead.

Information for this report is provided by AFP and REUTERS.

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