A government official says police fired on ethnic protesters in southern Nepal, killing at least two and wounding another eight.

Government administrator Devi Bahadur Bhandari said the police acted as the ethnic Madhesi protesters tried to attack a political rally organized by the ruling communist party in Rangeli, near the border with India. Police tried to stop the attackers with batons, tear gas and blank shots before firing live rounds into the crowd Thursday.

The Madhesis have been protesting against Nepal's new constitution for months, and at least 50 people have died in related violence since August.

Talks between the protesting groups and the government have made little progress, but both sides say they will continue talking.