NSW police stop Tourism Minister’s VNY promotional rally in Sydney: Reports

Yogesh Bhattarai

KATHMANDU, Jan 7: Security officers in Australia have stopped a rally organized to promote the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign which was led by Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Yogesh Bhattarai in Sidney, according to reports.

According to a report, the New South Wales police had explicitly asked the organizers not to conduct the rally since the event was “promotional” and for “commercial gain” and was “not in keeping with the legislation regarding a right to protest”.

The event was also being participated by Ambassador of Nepal to Australia Mahesh Raj Dahal, Consul General of Nepal in NSW Deepak Khadka and Consul General of Nepal in Victoria Chandra Yonzon.

According to southasia.com.au, the rally was disapproved given the size of the contingent of the participants and in fear, the marching participants would take up the entire footpath blocking access for the pedestrians.

The timing of the promotional campaign in Australia also faces criticisms as the country is fighting a series of an intense bushfire burning across an estimated 8.4 million hectares (84,000 square kilometers) which have killed 25 people and half a billion animals in NSW and destroyed 2,500 houses.

However, Minister Bhattarai blasted the reports saying the fabricated news was aimed at tarnishing Nepal’s image and ties with the friendly country.

“The inauguration of the VNY 2020 in Australia has successfully concluded. A silent rally was organized to promote the tourism campaign,” he wrote on Facebook.

“These baseless and fabricated reports are aimed at tarnishing the image of the country and severing ties with Australia,” he added.