Nepal has had a problematic monarchy including a recent incident where a prince killed the rest of the family over a girl and became king for a short period. The most recent king was disliked by the public and a Maoist revolution started in rural areas and spread through out the country. The revolution claimed 13,000 lives. A year ago the Maoist signed onto a new process to form a new government which will likely end all remnants of the monarchy's influence and a true democracy.
The first election, which will be intrical in establishing the constution, is supposed to happen in November. The problem is the Maoist are trying to prevent these elections. They say the stage is not set yet so they are demanding 22 conditions be met prior to the elections. One being they want the maoist army at the polls for security and to try to talk to people about the election.
The 22 conditions are unlikely to met by today (their deadline) so the Maoist are saying there will be a non-violent agitation. Given that a leader of an anti-maoist group was killed last night, it does not seem like the non-violent part is being honored.
There are positive as well as negative signs. Everyone says there is no danger to foreigners but we are still being careful. Ok, last night while walking through the streets we stopped at a little dance show for 10 minutes before we realized it was a Maoist rally...we promise to look closer next time.