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[icon] Experiencing a Royal-Military Coup - lacunae
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Subject:Experiencing a Royal-Military Coup
Time:08:37 pm
For sammka and others...

I woke up at 7 AM like any other day. I showered and put on a cap and walked down the street for a Five Rupee Tea. Panch Rupaiya Chiyaa, that is, pardner.

So I walked down the street and bought the Kathmandu Post and Kantipur dailies, and sat in the chiyapasal (teashop). Read the paper, walked back to the hotel, got a call from a friend.

"I'm glad I caught you. Something's going to happen at 10:00. The King's going to make an announcement. If anything happen's we're going to meet in Anamnagar."

So I went to breakfast and had a big pile of food in case I didn't get to eat much later. At 9:30 I was supposed to be in the Canadian Embassy for a meeting. I got there and we chatted for a while about the security situation, and then went up to the embassy's meeting room to watch the King's address.

For forty minutes, with lots of Nepali officers of the Canadian Embassy, I watched as the King pronounced that in the name of Democracy, he was outlawing the political parties and arresting the top officers. I watched as he said that in the name of the free press he was taking control, meanwhile the phones were all cut and mobiles were cut and the internet was off and the Royal Nepal Army was occupying every news and media outlet in the country. I watched King Gyanendra say that he was taking control for the sake of Peace and Security (shanti-saraksha). Meanwhile I found out later about the military encouraging killer mobs called "Village Defence Committees" in Kapilvastu district.

At 11:00 AM, I walked out on the street because I had no place in the Canadian Embassy. It was calm outside. I took a taxi to Ratna Park. Nothing happening there. Took a taxi back to the hotel. Changed my clothes. Took a taxi back into town. Walked around looking for people I knew. Found a few, saw a large military presence, trucks full of army and Armed Police Force personnel with their guns all ready. A large show of force.

I expected some kind of protests, this being Kathmandu after all it's only natural. And I feared bloodshed if the Army retaliated violently as was very likely.

But no protest ever materialized. There was a very brief black flag rally that I missed. Nobody hurt, lasted 10 minutes and dispersed.

The reason: without the mobile phones, and with some key leaders arrested, there was nobody to coordinate a rally.

That night I went to the Kantipur and Kathmandu Post offices to see what was there. Indeed it was occupied by the Royal Nepal Army. They walked around while editors nervously scurried around trying to figure out what they could do now that all news stories had to be cleared by an Army censor.

I spoke with the editors of Kathmandu Post and one said to me "In all my 13 years as Chief Editor, I have never had a sadder day to be a journalist than this one. I might as well print a giant picture of Mount Everest on the front page. And love poems. I cannot publish news."

I flew out the next day after running all around to finish urgent tasks and to check on some organizations to see if they were okay.
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queerbychoice
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Time:2005-03-17 03:22 am (UTC)
Thank you for writing this.
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la_chispa
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Time:2005-03-17 02:56 pm (UTC)
Yes, thank you for this post.
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[icon] Experiencing a Royal-Military Coup - lacunae
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