Security forces went on high alert Monday to avert street clashes in Nepal's capital amid a government power struggle over the prime minister's attempts to fire the army chief.
The prime minister, from Nepal's Maoist party, unleashed the crisis on Sunday by trying to fire the army chief because of his moves to block the enlistment into the military of former Maoist rebels.
The firing sparked mass protests and was later rejected by the country's president, from the main opposition party.
Nepal's Maoists fought a bloody, 10-year war against the government before joining the political mainstream in 2006 and winning the most votes during elections last year after the Himalayan country abolished its centuries-old monarchy. However, many of the former Maoist fighters remain restricted to UN-monitored barracks under a peace accord.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal wants them freed and integrated into the military. But the military chief, Rookmangud Katawal, has resisted those efforts and sparred repeatedly with the government over the issue.
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Image: Students and supporters of Nepal's opposition political parties, who are against Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal's decision to fire army chief Rookmangud Katawal, set fire on old tires and block roads during a protest in Kathmandu, on Sunday, May 3, 2009.