Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in the heart of Kathmandu on Thursday, advocating for the reinstatement of the monarchy and the return of Nepal to its former status as a Hindu state.
Aligned with the “citizen’s movement to protect the nation, nationalism, religion, and culture,” protesters, waving national flags, voiced their support for ex-King Gyanendra on the outskirts of the capital.
Their attempt to march towards the city center was met with resistance from the police, who employed tear gas and batons to disperse the crowd. The clash resulted in minor injuries on both sides, with authorities having previously banned protests in various parts of Kathmandu in anticipation of the rally.
A protester, expressing the sentiments of many, stated, “We are here to demand the reinstatement of our monarchy and revert Nepal to its Hindu state identity. Our nation’s history is deeply intertwined with these aspects, and we believe it is essential for the preservation of our culture and values.”
Supporters of the former king had gathered from all corners of the country, passionately expressing their desire for the return of the monarchy and the abolition of the republic. The protesters collectively accused the government and political parties of corruption and mismanagement, adding fuel to the ongoing political debate in the country.
Despite having been in a private capacity without power or state protection since the monarchy’s abolition in 2008, ex-King Gyanendra still commands a notable level of support among certain segments of the population. However, the likelihood of his return to power remains uncertain.
In 2007, Nepal transitioned to a secular state through an interim constitution, marking a departure from its centuries-old status as a Hindu state. The current protests reflect a simmering discontent with this transition, with demonstrators demanding a reevaluation of the nation’s political and cultural trajectory.
The government has yet to respond formally to the protesters’ demands, but these developments are likely to intensify discussions around the role of the monarchy and the country’s religious identity in Nepal’s evolving political landscape.