General strike shuts down Nepalese capital
(dpa) - A general strike called by student unions Wednesday shut down the Nepalese capital Kathmandu while anti-government protests were reported from several other cities and towns.
The shutdown came a day after the students clashed with police at several places in Kathmandu, protesting the government's decision to increase prices of petroleum products.
The strike completely shut down major markets, financial and educational and halted transport.
Groups of protestors burnt tyres to block main roads throughout the city and stopped motorcyclists and motorists from operating their vehicles.
They also forcibly shut down shops which had opened in the morning. And by noon, the Nepalese capital wore a deserted look.
There was a visible presence of police on the streets of Kathmandu.
Police said there were no major incidents of violence during Wednesday's strike.
Student groups were also involved in protest demonstrations in several towns across Nepal and in some place blocked major highways affecting transport.
The protestors want the government to roll back the price increases in kerosene, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) that are widely used by the people.
On Tuesday, the Nepalese government increased the prices of kerosene, diesel and LPG, saying it was in line with the international oil prices.
The government has come under severe criticism, even from its own coalition members, over the price hike, the third in the last three months.
Nepal faced a severe fuel crisis for much of 2007 after the Indian Oil Corporation cut supplies by nearly half after the Nepalese oil corporation could not pay nearly 2.5 billion rupees it owed for importing the fuel.
The student groups have vowed to continue the protests until the government reverses its decision.