Thousands of supporters of Nepal’s former Maoist rebels began gathering in Kathmandu for a May Day protest rally to press for a return to power in what may herald a showdown with the coalition government.
The Maoists say it will be the biggest demonstration since they quit the government last year. Supporters, many dressed in red, are housed in hundreds of schools and are being provided training on how to use sticks as well as martial arts.
The constituent assembly has until May 28 to agree the new constitution but the government may miss the deadline leaving a political vacuum.
Some analysts say the sticking point behind the stalemate was how to settle the future of more than 19,000 Maoist former fighters . The Maoists want them to join the security forces while the government refuses.