KATHMANDU (AFP) - Nepal's former king Gyanendra left his main palace in Kathmandu late on Wednesday to live as a commoner in a former hunting lodge on the outskirts of the capital. Gyanendra and his wife Komal Shah left in the back of a black Mercedes as hundreds of riot police surrounded the main gate of the sprawling palace complex in the heart of the ancient temple-studded city. Shouts of "Long live the republic" rang out from a crowd of about 500 people who watched Gyanendra's departure while a few pro-royalists cried. "Former king Gyanendra Shah and his wife Komal Shah have left the palace and are headed to Nagarjun," the forest reserve on the edge of Kathmandu, police officer Bharat Lama told AFP. Earlier, Gyanendra said he "respected" the abolition of the centuries-old monarchy as he gave a final speech before his eviction from the royal palace. In a downbeat and brief farewell broadcast live on national television, he also hit back at allegations he was a mass murderer who had robbed the impoverished country. "I have assisted in and respected the verdict of the people," he said in his first comments since the declaration of a republic on May 28. He added that he "will not leave this country" and go into exile. During his 14-minute speech, the former king hit back at accusations that he was linked to the killings. "Me and my family have been continuously defamed with ill intentions which was saddening and still is. The accusations that were targeted against us were inhuman," said the ex-king. "All my properties are in Nepal. All the properties I have are nationalised. In the last seven years I have not gathered any money or property," he insisted. Gyanendra - sitting in a chair surrounded by two stuffed tigers and a rhino head - said he had also handed over his diamond, ruby and emerald-adorned crown and sceptre. "The crown and sceptre used by the Shah dynasty, I have given to the Nepal government," said the ex-king. Gyanendra, however, stopped short of apologising to those killed during his reign - part of which was marked by a bloody crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators. "If any people have been harmed, I hope you understand it was unintentional," he said.