Nepal's King Gyanendra has dismissed the government, assumed all powers and declared a state of emergency, severely curtailing civil liberties.
All flights to the capital, Kathmandu, have been diverted and telephone and Internet lines shut down, cutting off the Himalayan nation from the rest of the world.
Troops surrounded the homes of Nepal's political leaders including Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, and placed them under house arrest. Military vehicles with machine guns patrol the city streets.
Speaking on state media Tuesday, the king said he will form a new government to rule for the next three years, but denied he had staged a coup.
He criticized the Deuba government for failing to hold parliamentary elections and to tackle a long-standing Maoist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.