Nepal scales back Hindu chariot festival amid virus surge

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KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A drastically scaled-back version of a Hindu chariot festival took place in Nepal’s capital amid strict COVID-19 restrictions. Saturday’s festival followed an agreement by organizers and authorities that prevented a repeat of violent confrontations between police and protesters last year. Typically, a five-story-high wooden chariot of a deity is pulled around the capital for about a month, drawing tens of thousands. But this year, only around a hundred hand-picked devotees were allowed to pull the chariot for just a few meters (yards). Riot police sealed off the neighborhood to prevent any spectators from entering. The Himalayan nation is experiencing a coronavirus surge, with record numbers of new infections and deaths. 

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