Schools for millions of students in Nepal were closed on Friday as tens of thousands of teachers demonstrated in the capital against an education reform bill in parliament.
Teachers have been protesting in Kathmandu since Wednesday against the School Education Bill, while groups of teachers are negotiating with government leaders over changes to the law.
Teachers oppose provisions that would bring government-run schools into local control, saying it would reduce their status and eliminate many temporary teaching posts.
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The teachers blocked the main road leading from the parliament building to key government ministries, disrupting traffic in the heart of the capital. Hundreds of police in riot gear blocked the road leading to parliament with barbed wire barricades.
The teachers threatened to bring more protesters to Kathmandu if their demands were not met.
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“Our main demand is that we teachers should remain under the central government like all other government professionals and not under the control of local authorities who are all controlled by politics,” said Badri Dungel, a high school teacher who participated in the protest.
“We should get equal pay, status and other facilities and benefits as civil servants,” he said.
The protest had led to the closure of about 29,000 public schools attended by millions of students across the country. Private schools remained open.
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Protesters clashed briefly with riot police on Thursday, but no major violence was reported.