King reinstates the Parliament in Nepal

By Tim Sullivan The Associated Press

KATMANDU, Nepal – Tens of thousands of people flooded Katmandu’s streets to celebrate yesterday after Nepal’s opposition called off weeks of bloody anti-monarchy protests that forced the king to restore Parliament.

But with their rebel allies dismissing the king’s move as a ploy and warning the opposition parties their acceptance of it was a betrayal, it was clear the Himalayan nation’s political crisis was far from over.

For a few hours though, celebration was the focus, as opposition leaders nominated a former prime minister to head the new government and the capital came back to life.

“The king, his army and their guns were no match against the strength of the people,” said Sangita Karki, an office worker at the victory rally in Katmandu. “We won, he lost.”

Hundreds of riot police were lined up to stop demonstrators from marching toward the royal palace a few hundred yards away. Witnesses said there was one minor clash, with a brief exchange of rocks and tear gas. One person was taken away in an ambulance.

While thrilled the king had given in to a key opposition demand and restored Parliament, many demonstrators remain wary of the incoming political leaders, most from the core of Nepal’s bickering and often corrupt political clique.

“We are here not just to celebrate the king’s defeat, but also to warn the leaders that if they betray the people, this very crowd will not leave them alive,” said Shree Ram, who closed his shop to join the protest.

Late Monday, King Gyanendra appeared on state television to announce the reinstatement of the Parliament.