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Democracy movement is born in Nepal

A Nepalese democracy movement, modeling itself on the campaigns for change that have shaken or toppled governments from Beijing to Bucharest, was born here during the weekend in a hail of broken bricks and stones. The government says seven people were killed in two days of demonstrations for greater freedom.

Protesters say more than a dozen were killed, scores injured and hundreds arrested since Sunday in towns and cities across Nepal, a Hindu kingdom of 20-million.

Monday, troops and riot police officers swarmed the streets, trying to keep main arteries open and government services running.

The authorities are confronting a general strike and ban on vehicles by a newly united opposition group, the Movement to Restore Democracy and Human Rights.

The protesters, led by leftists, students and members of the banned Nepali Congress Party, are calling for an end to King Birendra's "partyless democracy," with its various levels of panchayats, or councils, from village level to the National Panchayat, or parliament.

The next national parliamentary election is scheduled for 1991.