Nepal police arrest dozens as anti-poll protests continue

KATHMANDU (AFP) - Anti-election protesters in Nepal hurled petrol bombs at passing traffic on Thursday as part of their campaign to disrupt next week's vote, while police made dozens of arrests, an official said on Thursday.

Protesters threw a bomb at a truck carrying goods in Bara district in southern Nepal, injuring the driver's assistant, police spokesman Ganesh K. C. told AFP.

A passenger bus in north-eastern Kavre district meanwhile narrowly missed being hit by another petrol bomb.

"We arrested 34 protesters from across the country, five of them for making home made bombs," the spokesman said.

Police also recovered five hoax bombs from around the country, he added.

Protesters have torched several vehicles in their effort to enforce the ban this week. Eight people, including a five-year-old girl, suffered injuries in an attack on Wednesday night.

A 33-party alliance headed by the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) has urged a boycott of the Nov 19 vote, the country's second since a 10-year civil war ended in 2006, denouncing it as illegal.

The alliance argues that elections cannot be carried out under the interim administration headed by the chief justice of the supreme court, and have called for them to be postponed until a cross-party government is put in place.

More than 100 parties, including three major ones - the Unified Marxist-Leninist, the Nepali Congress and the Maoists - are fielding candidates for the 601-seat Parliament, which is also expected to act as a constitution-drafting body.