Monday, May 3, 2010

Indefinite Strike

So we are now entering day two of an indefinite strike here in Nepal called for by the Maoists. It appears the political parties have not come to an agreement and they will not be meeting the Maoists demands, at least not in the short-term. So what is it like here under the general strike?

Quite pleasant actually. First all the little food vendors I use to get food are still open, and though we have stocked up on supplies for a couple of weeks, it's nice to still be able to get the fresh veggies. The streets are devoid of motor vehicles, and as a person who never drives, except for a rare taxi, it's really nice to walk through the capital without taking in the massive amounts of fumes. Kathmandu is a city made for walking, and the lack of constant honking from passing motor bikes or taxis is quite nice.

My selfish enjoyment aside, this is hitting some businesses hard. People who own factories can't operate, and transportation of goods through the country has ground to a halt. The influx of Maoists into the the capital is putting a strain on some food stocks and combined with the lack of transportation is causing food prices to rise. In typical fashion of communist inspired movements they are also getting most of their food and lodging on others expenses. All of the "party palaces", kind of like large banquet halls with tin roofs, have been taken over by throngs of Maoist cadres who eat their fill. Apparently the owners of these establishments are being promised payment after this is all over. I have my doubts. If they do get paid it will be from money that was collected by "donations" from the unwilling citizenry of Kathmandu.

So below are some photos we've taken over the past two days. Apparently there were torch rallies last night, were people actually walk the streets with flaming torches, but we walked down to Kanti Path & Tredevi Marg and didn't see any. Apparently it happened because there are pictures in Republica this morning, but we missed out.

The strangely, but relaxingly, empty Lazimpat Rd. during the general strike. The only vehicles were for army, police, tourist shuttles, ambulances and the occasional red-cross and UN SUV. 

May 1st parade passing under a pedestrian foot bridge on Kanti Path. Kim took this photo on her May day excursion.

May 1st Parade. All the Maoists wave their red flags. 

Police stand by in riot gear in case things turn violent. So far there haven't been any reports of clashes, except for some small ones in Bhaktapur yesterday.

The intersection of Kanti Path and Tredevi Marg yesterday as a group of Maoists marched by on their way to Thamel.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I have never seen Lamzimpat without cars with the exception of a late night stroll after Jazz Upstairs or the Karaoke bar... Great photos!


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