Locals clash with police during chariot festival in Nepal
Over a thousand people gathered for a religious chariot festival in Nepal on Thursday, defying COVID-19 prohibitory orders, and clashed with police who resorted to tear gas shells to disperse them, causing a few injuries.
People gathered at Pulchowk area of Lalitpur district, 8 kms east of Kathmandu, to take part in the centuries-old chariot pulling Machindranath festival, which is mainly observed by the Buddhist community in the valley.
The festival is the longest chariot festival in Nepal which starts just before the beginning of monsoon, to appease the rain and grain god Rato Machindranath, according to the Kathmandu Post.
Tensions flared as police objected to an attempt made by the people to organise the chariot pulling procession of the statue of Rato Machindranath.
The local youth started pelting bricks and stones on the police personnel on duty, following which the police lobbied tear gas shells and used water cannons to disperse the crowd.
Half a dozen people, including some policemen, sustained minor injuries, police said.