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Nepalese King Says He is Returning Power Back to People


Nepal's King Gyanendra says he has decided to return power to the people and has asked political parties to suggest a new candidate for the prime minister's post.

He made the announcement during his address to the nation Friday after 16 straight days of protest rallies by tens of thousands of anti-monarchy protesters who defied a curfew and shoot-to-kill orders. Police killed 13 protesters.

The king fired an elected government and seized absolute power nearly 15 months ago. He said the government had failed to control Maoist rebels who now have joined hands with the ousted political parties.

Earlier Friday, tens of thousands of protesters marched, waved party flags and chanted anti-monarchy slogans in the Kalanki district on the outskirts of the capital, Kathmandu. Demonstrators burned tires and threw logs and barbed wire across the streets to prevent troop movements.

Riot police, troops with automatic weapons and armored cars stood at intersections to prevent protesters from entering the city.

United Nations human rights experts have condemned what they call the "excessive and deadly use of force" by Nepal's royal government in recent weeks.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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