On Tuesday, June 27, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) issued a security alert in response to the tense political climate across the Maldives, which may result in protests and associated violence in the coming days or weeks. The MAE is currently advising against travel to the capital Malé. However, according to the MAE, transfers to private island resorts by plane or boat directly from Malé International Airport (MLE) can still be considered safe.
The MAE also warns of the high risk of terrorism across the island country.
Political tension have intensified since the end of the 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. 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.
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. The combination of radical preaching, organized crime, and social problems have created a toxic mix.
Individuals present in the Maldives are advised to remain discreet and to report any suspicious activity or behavior to the authorities.
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