Civil society opposes new social media law in Nepal

An alliance of parties representing indigenous groups organised peaceful protests in Kathmandu on 14th May. Protestors demanded the government revisit provisions of the new constitution, which they claim entrenches the marginalisation of certain ethnic groups in Nepal. The march passed off peacefully, was monitored by domestic and international monitors and was widely reported in the media. These peaceful demonstrations follow a period of unrest and violence as the same movement called a strike and blockaded the India-Nepal border, preventing essential supplies from being imported into the country. Some of those earlier protests had become violent and resulted in the loss of dozens of lives, including several policemen. Civil society has expressed solidarity with the latest round of protests and called for dialogue, to which the government has now responded by opening negotiations. Article 17 of the new Constitution guarantees freedom of peaceful assembly and no prior notice is required for the demonstrations except in some restricted areas around the major government establishments. Curfews (prohibitory orders) are clamped to maintain law and order.