Nepal to deport five foreigners arrested at coronavirus protest

Agence France-Presse . Kathmandu | Published: 00:57, Jun 18,2020


Five foreigners from Australia, China and the US will be deported from Nepal and barred from returning for two years after protesting against the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, officials said Wednesday.

The five were among seven foreigners detained on Saturday when hundreds of people defied a nationwide lockdown to take part in the peaceful demonstration.

They demanded better virus testing, quarantine facilities for returning migrant workers and transparency from the government.

They were being deported for joining a political rally in ‘a breach of tourist visa rules’, Nepal’s immigration department chief Ramesh Kumar KC said.

‘They will be sent to their respective countries when international flights resume. They have also been banned from entering the country for two years,’ he added.

Nepal has suspended international flights until July 5.

Of the group, three Chinese and an American were additionally fined 10,000 rupees (US$81.79), while an Australian was slapped with a 20,000-rupee penalty for also taking photos.

A Norwegian woman arrested was fined 5,000 rupees but avoided being deported as she is married to a Nepali.

A Canadian arrested was let off after being found not to have taken part in the rally.

Nepal imposed a nationwide lockdown in late March and has gradually eased it since then, but large gatherings are still banned and public transport remains suspended.

The government has warned protesters they could face six months in jail if they held rallies during the lockdown.

The Himalayan nation has so far reported 6,591 cases of the coronavirus, with 19 deaths.

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