Crackdown on anti-road expansion protesters

Police have arrested 16 people following a clash with anti-road expansion protesters in Kathmandu on Wednesday.

The clash erupted as police tried to remove protesters blocking traffic movement by lying down along the Maitighar-Baneswor road.

Police first used water cannons and then tear gas to disperse the agitators. Police say they resorted to the use of force after protesters pelted stones and ransacked two of their vans.

However, a struggle committee of people affected by the road expansion drive has accused police of 'using excessive force'.

The road expansion drive was launched by the government during Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai's tenure in 2011. The drive was initially seen as a major intervention necessary to ease traffic jams in Kathmandu Valley.

But people who lost or could lose their ancestral property without adequate compensation have turned against the campaign. Heritage conservation activists have also been protesting, saying the government is bulldozing heritage sites in the name of road expansive drive.