Vol. 5 Num 467 Sat. September 17, 2005  

Nepalese cops arrest 87 journalists

Police arrested 87 journalists in the Nepalese capital yesterday who were planning a rally to demand the lifting of restrictions on the press, a local media rights group said.

The Federation of Nepalese Journalists, an umbrella organization that defends the rights of journalists in Nepal, said the journalists were being held at a detention centre in Katmandu.

Separately, thousands of protesters demonstrated in Katmandu on Friday, demanding the restoration of democracy. Police arrested about 200 protesters.

The journalists were arrested while gathering for a rally in central Katmandu to protest press restrictions imposed by the royal government since King Gyanendra took over absolute power earlier this year.

"We were gathering for a peaceful rally, but the government used police to break it up," Bishnu Nisthuri, president of the federation, told The Associated Press by telephone.

Nisthuri, who was also among those detained, said the journalists were arrested in groups and driven to a police detention center. They had planned on holding the rally at Ratna Park, an area in center of Katmandu where protests and rallies have been banned by the government.