13 June 2020: Australian filmmaker Kalani Gacon was detained alongside six other foreigners after he recorded a protest in Nepal against the government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, reported 9News.
Gacon and the other six foreigners were detained for participating in a youth-led anti-government demonstration. According to director-general of the Department of Immigration Ramesh Kumar KC, the foreigners had violated the terms of their visas by participating in the protest. Gacon told The Kathmandu Post that according to the law foreigners are prohibited in participating in any demonstrations over internal issues of the country. He posted on Facebook that they had been released on bail after three days of detention. However, Gacon and five other protesters will be deported from Nepal after the lockdown and are banned from entering Nepal for two years. According to his mother Alexandra, Kalani has now been charged “for documenting internal affairs which is illegal for a foreigner in Nepal.”
After his release, Gacon posted the following statement on Facebook: “Wow. Thanks for everyone’s hard work, prayers and love we are out of jail. Some magic was manifested thanks to everyone who worked for us. Has been a wild three days and will contact your all soon inshallah. Thanks for all your prayers and love it means tooo much. Nepali police have been so good to us, and we spent the nights sharing stories.”
After imposing a full lockdown in March, the government has been criticised by the Nepalese population for not doing enough to contain the virus. The protesters are demanding better quarantine facilities, more tests and transparency in the purchase of medical supplies. NDTV further reports that police has used baton charges, water cannons and tear gas to break down an earlier protest. As of today, Nepal has 14.046 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 30 deaths.