KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) _ Retired Gurkha soldiers marched to the British Embassy in Katmandu on Thursday to pressure their former employer for pensions equal to those of their British counterparts.

Nearly 15,000 former Gurkha soldiers and their relatives marched about a mile from the Nepalese Foreign Ministry to the embassy and blocked the building's entrance for an hour.

A protest letter was handed over to embassy officials.

Himal Rai of the Gurkha Ex-Servicemen's Organization said Gurkhas would begin a sit-in at the embassy on Aug. 17 that would last ``until our demands are met.''

The organization had rejected a British Government's offer of pensions hikes ranging from 23 to 51 percent for the 26,375 retired Gurkha soldiers who have served and fought wars for Britain.

Even with a 40 percent increase, a retired Gurkha rifleman will receive a pension of $42 a month; his British counterpart gets $750 a month.

At present, 3,000 British Gurkhas are still on active duty. Gurkha soldiers from Nepal have served in the British Army for nearly 200 years.