On June 2, more than 500,000 people participated in a rally organized by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). It was one of the biggest rallies in the history of the country, and the largest ever organized by the CPN-M. The rally revealed the party’s growing strength in urban areas. The CPN-M leads an armed insurgency based in Nepal’s countryside.
The protest culminated weeks of public meetings taking place in territories liberated by the communist insurgency. The rally was called to show support for the program of the CPN-M, which calls for a new constituent assembly and the drafting of a new constitution.
On April 24, after weeks of militant street protests and a general strike, the people forced the despotic King Gyanendra to diminish his absolute power and reinstate Parliament.
The King’s concessions did not stop the mass demonstrations. On May 18, Parliament removed the King as head of the military, revoked his tax-exempt status and veto power and declared Nepal a secular state. Previously, the Nepalese monarchy reigned over an officially Hindu state, which promulgated a rigid caste system based on discrimination, racism and sexism.