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Nepal threatens Olympic protesters

Nepal's threat to use violence to prevent anti-China protests when the Olympic torch reaches Mount Everest has been condemned by Amnesty International. The Nepali Home Ministry has pledged to use "force, including gunfire… to prevent anti-China protests" when the Olympic torch relay arrives on Mount Everest in early May. The threats follow earlier crackdowns on peaceful pro-Tibetan protesters, which were unconstitutional. Since 10 March over 2,000 people have been arbitrarily detained. The Nepali government is extending illegal police actions against Tibetans in Nepal and systematically violating their fundamental rights to liberty, due process and freedom of movement, assembly and expression. "Members of the Tibetan refugee community have in recent days faced increasingly punitive police measures designed to muzzle free speech, including threats of arbitrary deportation to China. Statements threatening the use of lethal force represent an unacceptable escalation," said Amnesty International. The Nepal authorities must ensure that its officers are adequately equipped and trained to employ non-violent means of crowd control before resorting, where strictly necessary, to the use of force. Firearms may only be used as a last resort where lives are at risk. The government must also ensure that its officers are subject to strict regulations regarding the use of such methods and are tied to a strict system of accountability. Amnesty International has called on the Nepali government to police demonstrations in line with the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force.