Nepalis mock quibbling leaders with #ChairSmashChallenge

KATHMANDU – Frustrated Nepalis have turned to social media to mock a parliamentary brawl that saw the latest chance to complete the country's constitution thrown away amid flying chairs.

Nepal's increasingly boisterous social media users have used Twitter to imitate the act, taking photos of themselves picking up chairs, as if to smash them, and labelling them with the #ChairSmashChallenge. 

Brazesh Khanal, an author and screenplay writer, watched on his television the Jan. 20 brawl which resulted in the collapse of last-minute talks to complete the constitution Nepal has waited on since a decade-long Maoist rebellion ended in 2006.

Saddened by the images, Khanal spoke with friends on Twitter about starting a “silent satirical protest.”

“I thought maybe we could lift a chair and start posting it as our silent protest. It was not directed at any political parties or individual. All we wanted to do was to show that such anger and damage of public property doesn’t solve any problem,” Khanal told The Anadolu Agency.

He was soon joined by Samir Dixit, a biomedical scientist, and Bigyan Lohani, a management expert, who helped spread the word and popularize the #SmashChairChallenge hashtag.

Janak Raj Bhatta, an IT officer at the National Human Rights Commission, said the social media users wanted to spread the message that parliamentarians not only destroyed state property but also the hopes and optimism of the Nepali people.

“We tried to show the shameful behavior of our politicians. The incident was laced with irony: Nepal got bad press around the world and the Nepali process of making a constitution looked ever more distant,” he said.

What the Nepali twitter users were not expecting was for the hashtag to go viral.

“It might not mean much for the ongoing process but it shows how social media can protest over a handful politicians’ shameful act in a civilized manner and how it can convince people to stand against the stupid behavior of the politicians,” he said.

While resentment grows among citizens, negotiations to resolve the contentious issues of the constitution have broken down and a Jan. 22 deadline for the completion of the constitution was missed.

The opposition, led by former Maoist rebels, have announced a series of peaceful protests but ruling party leaders have demanded that the opposition should abandon the protest campaigns.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency