On Saturday, 1 May 2010, the Unified Community Party of Nepal (Maoist) staged a massive May Day rally in Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu. Their demand: the Prime Minister’s resignation and the formation of a new national consensus government under their leadership. The protestors converged at the Khula Manch (Open-Air Theatre) in the centre of the city. There, after a series of aggressive warnings and ridicule hurled at the government by various party leaders, party chairman Prachanda took to the stage in the late afternoon. He warned the Prime Minister and his government to step down or face an indefinite shutdown of the country starting Sunday, 2 May. He appealed to the security forces for restraint and to the locals of Kathmandu for support on the streets.
After 6 days, on 7 May, the Maoists announced they would call off the strike but continue their protests targeting the government, which they would escalate if there was no response. That morning, thousands of Kathmandu residents had taken part in a Peace Rally asking the Maoists to withdraw their strike. Here we present some images of the May Day rally, the week-long strike and the peace rally on 7 May.
|A delivery boy in New Road watches and waits until the May Day rally organized by the United Community Party of Nepal (Maoist) passes.|
|The Maoist rally brought tens of thousands of protestors and party supporters to the streets of Kathmandu from various parts of the country. Seen here are members representing Pyuthan district.|
|As rallies took place around Kathmandu, preparations for the main event were underway at the Khula Manch. Seen here, a party worker with her child in the venue´s dome plastered with the May Day rally posters.|
|Prerana Byenju, a 19-year-old whole-timer with the party, stands by as her fellow cadres fix a comrade´s hair, and waits for the event to begin. They are all members of the Maoist party´s cultural wing. She is half Tamang and half Newar. When asked which ethnic state she would live in, a model for federalism her party endorses, she and her friends quickly replied the federal structure is so that people of all ethnicities can live in any state they chose.|
|The party demonstrated its much-touted discipline by being able to keep their cadres in line with volunteers and group leaders making sure things ran smoothly. The venue fills up as the party´s top leaders prepare to make their way in.|
|Ganesh Man Pun, Chairman of YCL, and Sagar, head of YCL-Bagmati, have a brief chat minutes before party chairman Prachanda´s arrival.|