Nepal's royal government has released two top opposition leaders, and police have killed at least three more anti-monarchy protesters.
Reports from Kathmandu say the general secretary of the communist party, Madhav Kumar Nepal, and a senior leader of the Nepali Congress party, Ram Chandra Poudel, were released after three months in jail.
Two protesters were killed when police fired on demonstrators in the eastern town of Chandragadi, and a woman died in the southwestern town of Nepalganj. Wednesday's killings bring to eight the number of protesters to die during two weeks of rallies denouncing the emergency powers King Gyanendra assumed last year.
A daytime shoot-on-sight curfew has been re-imposed in the western town of Pokhara, where 250 college professors were arrested during a protest rally today.
India has dispatched a special envoy, former cabinet minister Karan Singh to Kathmandu to assess and discuss the situation with the king and Nepalese political leaders today.
Besides jailing hundreds of opposition activists over the past two weeks, security forces also arrested 25 Home Ministry employees who joined a protest in the capital Tuesday.
King Gyanendra dismissed his government and took absolute power 14 months ago, saying elected officials were not able to control Nepal's Maoist rebels, who now have joined hands with the main political parties.