1997, july 8 - general strike ends with hundreds of arrests, vandalism
more than 200 people were arrested for disturbances in kathmandu during a one-day general strike called by the nepal students' union (nsu) to protest fuel price hikes, witnesses said. the nepalese capital came to a halt as buses and cars were kept off the roads and almost all shops, schools and factories were closed. state-run transport only moved with police guards on board. several hundred demonstrators damaged vehicles and broke windows of hotels and travel agencies for ignoring their call to close down "everything, " witnesses said. three merchants who had opened their shops were locked inside by the demonstrators. the protesters, who yelled anti-government slogans, also burned tires at several places in kathmandu to express their resentment against the price hike. a photographer covering the arrest scene was threatened by the police who said they would smash his camera if he dared to take the pictures of the event. the nsu demonstrators criticized the government's june 13 decision to hike petrol, kerosene, diesel and cooking gas by 20 to 60 percent. the student group, close to the main opposition nepali congress, was joined by the nepal consumer's forum which has been strongly protesting the hike. landlocked nepal imports around 79.8 million dollars' worth of fuel from india annually through the state-owned nepal oil corporation. harendra shrestha, chairman of the consumers' group, criticized the oil corporation for inefficiency.
the world : asia : nepal