KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) _ Nepalese police opened fire on thousands of pro-democracy protesters as they marched toward the capital Thursday, killing at least two people and wounding more than 40, witnesses and doctors said.

Police began firing tear gas and shooting with rubber and live bullets after the demonstrators gathered in the Kalanki area on the western edge of Katmandu and started marching toward the city, said Kunjan Aryal of INSEC-Nepal, a Katmandu-based rights group.

Doctors at Model hospital in Katmandu said two people were killed. The injured were in critical condition mostly with head injuries.

There was no immediate response on the firing from government officials, who imposed the 2 a.m.- 8 p.m. curfew to foil a mass protest by opposition political parties to demand King Gyanendra loosen his grip on power.