Clashes hit Nepal 'peace rally' in Kathmandu

Police fired teargas as clashes broke out between Maoist supporters and demonstrators at a "peace rally" to protest against the Maoist strike.

In the first rally of its kind, about 30,000 people gathered in Nepal's capital Kathmandu to demand an end to the Maoist-enforced shutdown.

The rally was organised by the business community and civil society groups.

The Maoist strike has entered its sixth day and has affected transport, businesses and schools across Nepal.

The BBC's Joanna Jolly in Kathmandu says the protest indicates that the Maoists may have not been able to capture the hearts and minds of ordinary people in Kathmandu.

The Maoists want the government of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal to stand down, arguing that it has no popular support.

They say the government has not consolidated Nepal's peace process and has failed to draft a new constitution.

The prime minister has said he will consider stepping down, but only if the Maoists pursue their demands through dialogue and meet certain conditions.

These include resolving who would lead a government of national unity, disbanding the Maoist paramilitary wing and returning property they seized during their 10-year conflict with the state.
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