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Nepal celebrates first Democracy Day
Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu | April 24, 2007 23:03 IST
Nepal on Tuesday celebrated the first anniversary of the end of King Gyanendra's absolute rule and restoration of democracy as the 'Loktantra Day' with thousands of people marking the event by thronging the streets and singing patriotic songs.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala attended the Democratic Day function at the Nepal Army pavillion, witnessed by ministers, lawmakers, government officials, diplomatic mission chiefs, political party leaders, civil society leaders and a large number of people.
"No one can deny Nepalese people this day, which marks the success of the struggle launched by people for their rights. The dreams and aspirations of the martyrs can only be fulfilled through national unity and mutual understanding," Koirala said, paying tribute to the martyrs.
"This day has given us the responsibility to build a peaceful, prosperous and new Nepal by ending all sorts of problems and conflicts," he said.
King Gyanendra, on April 24, 2006, bowing to the 19-day agitation transferred powers to the people and reinstated the Parliament.
After the successful movement, Girija Prasad Koirala was elected as the prime minister as a common candidate of the seven major political parties. Maoists also came to the mainstream by ending their decade long armed struggle that claimed over 13,000 lives.
Nepal declared a public holiday and the Loktantra Day celebrations will continue till April 25.
Various programmes, cultural processions, sport events and bands were displayed during the occasion.
In the afternoon, Koirala hosted a grand reception at Shital Niwas, in the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where top political leaders, ministers, heads of diplomatic missions, journalists, businessmen, civil society leaders were invited.
Earlier in the afternoon, civil society members organised a rally from Kalanki, the place where five people were killed in April last year, and marched toward Basantapur Durbar square.
The leaders of civil society, who participated in the rally, chanted anti-King and pro-republican slogans and asked the government to abolish monarchy and fix the date for the constituent assembly polls immediately to rewrite the constitution.
Meanwhile, the United States, extending congratulations to the Nepalese people on their first anniversary of Lokatantra (Democracy) Day, has urged all the parties of the popular uprising to meet their commitment to peace and democracy.
"The people of Nepal took a great step forward on the path toward democracy one year ago today," the US government said in a statement.
Noting that the People's Movement of 2006 was the result of great sacrifices, the US government said it was proud to stand with the people of Nepal as they move forward on a path to peaceful, prosperous and democratic future.
To ensure a stable and secure future, we urge all parties involved in the April's movement to meet their commitment to peace and democracy, reads a statement issued by the US