Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom instructed the military to lock down parliament in Malé on Monday, July 24, in a bid to prevent the impeachment of the parliamentary speaker. Several members of the opposition party broke through the barrier but were later forcibly removed by the police. The impeachment vote was seen as a blow to Gayoom's administration. In recent months, the government has increased its pressure on opposition parties to limit challenges to Gayoom's rule. Protests are possible in the near future, most likely in the capital of Malé.
Political tensions have intensified since the end of the Maumoon Abdul Gayoom dictatorship in 2008 and the 2012 coup that ousted the country's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed. Demonstrations have mainly taken place in Malé, with some leading to violence and arrests.
Some observers have warned of a worsening security situation since 2008. Gang members have repeatedly threatened local activists who run blogs and Facebook pages calling for tolerance for homosexuals, as well as journalists and bloggers. State repression, corruption, and poverty have left many people disenfranchised, leading to rising levels of criminality and violence, compounded with the spread of religious fundamentalism and radical preaching in a traditionally moderate religious nation.
Individuals present in the Maldives are advised to maintain a low profile and to avoid any and all public demonstrations. Monitor developments to the situation and follow all instructions issued by your home diplomatic mission.
Copyright and Disclaimer