Protest in Nepal against plan to cut trees to widen road

KATHMANDU, Nepal — More than 200 people rallied in Nepal's capital Thursday to protest government plans to cut down about 2,000 trees to widen a key road that circles the city.

The protesters held signs urging the government to stop the plan to remove the trees on the outer edge of Kathmandu.

The 27-kilometer (17-mile) Ring Road encircles the capital and is a key road network for the increasingly congested city.

"These trees were controlling pollution and giving fresh air so they cannot be cut down to make roads," said Saurav Dhakal, a protester. "Kathmandu is suffering from massive air pollution, and cutting so many trees is going to make the situation worse."

They are demanding the government find other ways to widen the road.

When the government widened half of the road earlier this year, thousands of trees were believed to have been cut down.

The second phase of the expansion covering the remaining half is expected to begin soon and protesters say they are determined to block that process.

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