Protesters stand near burning tires as they gather to block the highway connecting Nepal and India, during a general strike called by Madhesi protesters demonstrating against the new constitution in Birgunj, Nepal, on Nov. 5, 2015
At least four protesters in southern Nepal were fatally shot and ten others injured over the weekend in clashes with police during demonstrations against the country’s new constitution, the BBC reported.
The demonstrators who were killed belonged to Nepal’s Madhesi community, which has strong ethnic ties to India. They claim that the new constitution does not give them adequate representation.
Madhesi protesters have been blockading the Nepal-Indian border since the constitution passed in September, with, Nepal’s government says, the open support of New Delhi. India denies such claims.
The blockades have paralyzed Nepal, which conducts more than three-fourths of its trade with India. Food prices have increased and stocks of essential commodities, such as medicines for public hospitals, have been almost exhausted. The blockades have also severely hampered recovery in a country struggling to cope with rebuilding after earthquakes earlier this year killed more than 6,000 people.
Authorities said that more than two dozen police personnel were injured and a number of local ambulances attacked in the weekend’s unrest.