Nepal releases British tourist arrested for allegedly joining anti-Constitution protest

Nepalese activists from the Federal Alliance scuffle with police during a demonstration against the government in Kathmandu, on May 17, 2016.
Nepalese activists from the Federal Alliance scuffle with police during a demonstration against the government in Kathmandu, on May 17, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

KATHMANDU (AFP) - Nepal on Tuesday (May 17) released a British tourist arrested for allegedly joining a protest against the country's new Constitution, days after a Canadian's visa was revoked over his political tweets.

Hundreds of demonstrators from ethnic minorities have been protesting in Kathmandu since Sunday, calling for changes to the divisive new charter which they say leaves them politically marginalised.

The 45-year-old was detained on Monday after he was seen at the protest sporting a bandana inscribed with an anti-government slogan.

"We have released him after an investigation found he had no association with the protesters and had only stopped to observe the demonstration," said Mr Prazit KC of the city police.

The officer told AFP that one of the protesters had tied the bandana on the tourist, and the offence was not serious enough to require further action by the immigration authorities.

Earlier this month, Canadian software developer Robert Penner was ordered to leave Nepal over tweets deemed to "incite conflict".

The immigration department said Mr Penner had violated the terms of his visa by commenting on the country's "internal matters" and gave him two days to leave.

The Constitution, the first drawn up by elected representatives, was meant to cement peace and bolster Nepal's transformation to a democratic republic after decades of political instability and a 10-year Maoist insurgency which ended in 2006.

But several rounds of talks between the government and the protesting parties have failed to secure agreement, while more than 50 people died in previous clashes between police and demonstrators.