Police opened fire on protesters demanding statehood in southern Nepal, killing at least four people in two separate towns.

Police official Saurav Rana said three protesters were killed Wednesday because they were attacking police officers in Jaleswor town, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of the capital, Kathmandu. Another protester was killed when police opened fire in Bhardaha town, just east of Jaleswor.

The violence was the latest in recent weeks during protests by different ethnic groups demanding statehood in the country's new constitution.

The group protesting Wednesday are from the Madhesi ethnic group in southern Nepal, who say they should get a bigger area than proposed in the draft being finalized in the Constituent Assembly.