Maoist rebels shut down the Nepalese capital this week, as a rebellion against the monarchy spread. The rebels, who have been fighting the government for eight years, ordered businesses, markets, and schools to close. Such calls for general strikes are usually obeyed, out of fear that the communist rebels will kill dissenters. This weeks strike coincided with mass demonstrations against the king by major non-Maoist political parties calling for the return of democratic rule. King Gyanendra suspended the parliament two years ago. Since then, he has had to contend with angry pro-democracy demonstrators as well as communist rebels. Brother to the previous monarch, Gyanendra became king in 2001, after his nephew murdered most of the royal family.