Nepal marks anniversary of devastating earthquake
Nepalese people release balloons in memory of those who died in last year’s devastating earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal - AP
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KATHMANDU, Nepal:  Government officials, diplomats and ordinary people gathered at the remains of a fallen iconic tower in the Nepalese capital on Sunday to mark the anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed thousands and injured many more in the Himalayan nation.

Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli laid a wreath at the ruins of the Dharahara tower in the heart of Kathmandu. The structure collapsed on April 25 last year, killing 132 people.

“I lost a friend who was working at the top of the tower on that day. I hope he and others are in a good a place,” said Ram Shrestha. He said that he had just stepped out a few minutes before the earthquake to go shopping and survived.

Madhav Newpane, who runs a shop near the tower, witness its collapse. He returned on Sunday with a bouquet of flowers and candles.

“There were many people killed here on that day. I will never be able to forget that day,” said Newpane.

Buddhist monks also gathered at the Kathmandu Durbar Square to pray for nearly 9,000 people killed in the earthquake and aftershocks.

Nepal is under criticism for the slow reconstruction of the nearly 1 million houses despite foreign donors already pledging $4.1 billion in aid.

Millions of people remain homeless.

A small group of about 20 protesters dressed in black took to the streets, chanting slogans criticizing the slow pace of rebuilding. Police quickly removed their banner but allowed them to shout anti-government statements.

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