Saturday, May 31, 2008


As of yesterday, Nepal has declared itself a republic state, bringing and end to a centuries-old Hindu monarchy, as parliamentarians said they would give the last king 15 days to leave the palace.

Thousands of Nepalis marched, danced and sang in the capital's streets to celebrate "the dawn of the republic", hours before the Himalayan nation was set to abolish its once-revered Hindu monarchy.

It has been a dramatic decline for King Gyanendra; his portrait has been wiped off banknotes and his name has disappeared from the national anthem. He has been asked to pay his own electricity bills.

The king has remained silent as it became apparent that his days as Nepal's monarch were numbered, and the country's leading politicians have in recent days threatened to remove him from the 1970s-era concrete palace by force if he refuses to go peacefully.

Many Nepalis hope it will be the final chapter of a peace process ending a decade-long war that killed more than 13,000 people.

"Let's celebrate the dawn of a republic in a grand manner," one loudspeaker blared from the top of a taxi.

Demonstrators chanted "long live the republic!" and sang songs deriding the king.

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