18 protesters held, 4 hurt in Maldives clashes
MALE SUPPORTERS of the ousted former president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, clashed with police on Monday as they attempted to block the opening of parliament.
Riot police used teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters in the capital of Male, while lawmakers belonging to Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) shouted slogans inside the parliament chamber.
At least four security force personnel were injured and 18 MDP supporters were arrested, police said.
“Police used force as demonstrators were throwing stones, broken pieces of glass and were also damaging private and public property,” police spokesman Ahmed Shiyam said.
Nasheed, the nation’s first elected president, says he was forced out of power by Mohamed Waheed in a military- led coup on February 7
Waheed, the new president, was also prevented from opening parliament earlier this month by disturbances outside the assembly in the Indian Ocean nation, which is better known as a high-end holiday destination.
Nasheed has been pushing for early elections, originally scheduled for October 2013, but Waheed’s government has yet to name a date. An early poll requires an amendment to the constitution.
“This is the time for all of us to work together in one spirit, the time to bring political differences to the discussion table in order to formulate solutions,” Waheed told parliament.
He said riots in the capital of Male and the southern city of Addu cost the island nation 180 million rufiyaas ($11.8 million).
Last week, the 54-member Commonwealth voiced “disappointment and deep concern” over the failure of Maldivian parties to reach a political settlement that would pave the way for fresh polls.
Waheed, who served as vice-president under Nasheed, on Monday took to microblogging site Twitter to express his frustration, calling his former boss’s behaviour “anarchic”.
“(Nasheed) must take responsibility for the chaos as he is directing the chaos,” he wrote.