Ethnic protesters in Nepal withdraw border blockade, strike

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The main ethnic group that's been protesting for months over the new constitution is ending its border blockade and general strike in southern Nepal, bringing relief to the Himalayan nation suffering severe shortages of fuel, medicine and other supplies.

The United Democratic Madhesi Front said in a statement Monday it would continue its protests but would no longer block the border points where crucial supplies come on cargo trucks from India.

The strike has shut down schools, markets and transportation in the south, and the group's announcement came days after frustrated traders and residents forcefully removed the barriers at the main border crossing.

More than 50 people have been killed in the protests since October.

The Madhesis want a larger state than outlined in the country's new constitution.