Immigration Department to look into six foreigners arrested during Saturday’s protestWhile one foreigner has been let go for not being involved in the protest, the six others will be investigated as Nepali law prohibits foreigners from protesting Nepal’s internal matters, said officials.
The Department of Immigration has initiated investigations into six foreigners who were arrested on Saturday for taking part in a youth-led protest in the Capital.
According to Ramesh Kumar KC, director-general of the Department of Immigtation, the police on Saturday handed over six individuals for processing and investigation.
“Foreigners cannot take part in any demonstrations organised on the internal issues of the country, as per existing law, and they appear to have violated this law,” said KC. “They will be charged as per immigration law once the investigation is over.”
According to Clauses 28 (e) (f) and (g) of the Immigration Rules 2051, visas can be cancelled and foreigners deported if “his or her presence seems to cause an adverse impact on peace and security of Nepal or mutual harmony between the people of Nepal”; if “his or her conduct is found suspicious or if he or she carries out, or causes to be carried out, any undesirable activity”; or if “his or her presence seems to result in an adverse impact on the social and culture environment in Nepal.”
The six foreigners have been identified as Kalani Gacon, 24, from Australia; Stephanie Ann Thornton, 32, from the USA; Marita Liverod, 31, from Norway; and Qin Li, 40, Li Xu, 26, and Yanan Jia, 30, from China. All of those arrested were on tourist visas, except for Liverod who is on a marriage visa.
“The immigration office has provided permission to the police to hold them for three days for investigation,” said KC. “They are currently at the Singhadurbar Metropolitan Police Circle."
A total of 10 people, three Nepalis and seven foreigners, had been arrested on Saturday during the protest. All three Nepalis have been released while preliminary investigation revealed that one foreigner was not involved in the protest and was also released, according to Deputy Superintendent Rajkumar KC, spokesperson for the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range.
Saturday’s protest was the third in a row where hundreds of youths gathered peacefully to protest the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 10 individuals were arrested early in the protest. The Nepalis were arrested for “getting aggressive” and “attempting to protest in a prohibited zone”, according to Deputy Superintendent Sushil Kumar Yadav, spokesperson for the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Office.
Besides the early arrests, police largely refrained from using force against protesters, unlike on Tuesday and Thursday when protesters were met with water cannons, tear gas and baton charges.
The youth-led protest, organised largely on social media, first took place on Tuesday and has spread across the country since then and has been continued even on Sunday at some parts of the capital. The protesters are demanding wider use of polymerase chain reaction tests as rapid diagnostic tests are unreliable, improvements to quarantine facilities, and an expenditure report.