KATHMANDU, June 17: Youths took to the streets of the capital on Wednesday as well protesting the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact, government’s lackluster response to COVID-19 pandemic, corruption and the Office of President’s spending Rs 10 million in carpets as part of its renovation works during the crisis.
For the past few days, the youths have buzzed the streets in major cities across the country defying the lockdown orders and restrictions in mass gatherings against the government’s activities.
The protest flared after Prime Minister K P Sharma refused to furnish the details of the billions of rupees the government claimed to have spent in the COVID-19 response.
Following the pressure for financial transparency, Prime Minister’s Press Advisor Surya Thapa, in his Facebook page, shared a surface detail of Rs 8.39 billion the government spent in the fight against the pandemic, which according to Thapa, was revealed as per the decision of the COVID-19 Crisis Management Center Directorate Committee. But the information lacks authenticity as the it does not reveal who prepared the expenditure details.
The protesters are also unhappy with the government’s performance to the COVID-19 as the cases continues to surge in the country while quarantine facilities are sub-standard and has become the potential source of infection and cause of deaths. The safety women patients in the quarantine facilities have also been questioned after a woman was gang-raped in a facility set up at Shahid Smriti Secondary School in Lamki Chuha Municipality-1 of Kailali district on Saturday night.
Moreover, they have also demanded the government halt the unreliable RDT tests and expand the PRC testings.
At a time when the government is facing criticism for its incompetence in dealing the pandemic, delay in procurement of testing and protective kits, misuse of funds while the entire country goes through the hardships of crisis, the government’s decision to renovate the Office of President spending around Rs 18 million in carpet replacement and toilet renovation has put the youths out of their house and into the streets with the slogan ‘Enough is enough’.
Here are some photos of the youth demonstrations in Koteshwor captured by Reporters’ Club photo journalist Mukunda Kalikote.