Demonstrations and protests continue throughout the nation as we write this report with thousands of professionals, civil servants and the general public defying curfew orders to come out in the streets. Reports are coming in of the protests spreading to more locations in the country with even civil servants joining in the agitation.
The eastern parts of the country which had until today seen fewer protests have also seen demonstrations with large rallies in Biratnagar, Dharan, and Ithari. Clashes between protesters and security forces are taking place in the Bhaktapur, Kirtipur, Gangabu, and Kalanki in Kathmandu Valley. Even so, the intensity of the protests appear to have reduced compared to Sunday and the curfew has been reduced by six hours. The political party leadership which has spearheaded the agitation with tacit backing of the Maoists appear to be concerned that the protests shouldn\'t get out of hand.
Demonstrations going out of control, analysts say, would invite an anarchic situation that the state could use to declare a state of emergency or the Maoists to launch an urban uprising. The party leadership also appears to think it would be politically more effective to have large centralised pro-democracy rallies than sporadic stone-throwing crowds at street corners. The parties also seem to be wary that an extended general strike would not be popular with the public which is already reeling under shortages and price rises after the four-day strike and curfews. The parties also seem wary of the government using escalating violence to prove that the demonstrations have been infiltrated by Maoists.
On Sunday, Maoist leaders Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai issued a joint statement calling on demonstrators to continue to defy curfews to protest against the state, to remove all sign boards with \'Sri Panch ko Sarkar\', not to pay taxes to the government and take action against all those helping "feudal elements". The Maoist leaders also said they would take control of the country\'s highways.
Meanwhile, the party of a senior member in the royal council of ministers, Keshar Bahadur Bista, has for the first time called for dialogue and an end to violence. Democratic Nepal has asked the government to get together with constitutional forces to find a way out of the present crisis. The statement is in sharp contrast to the hardline stance taken by other members of the council, including Home Minsiter Kamal Thapa.
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DEFIANCE CONTINUES: Protestors continue to defy the government\'s curfew orders staging demonstrations in Gungabu and Kalanki in Kathmandu today.