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Male, Maldives

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Plot Thickens in Maldives, More Opposition Leaders Arrested Amidst Intense Anti-Government Protests

Protests against President Abdulla Yameen has intensified in capital Male and other cities, as joint opposition continues to maintain pressure on the government to implement the Supreme Court ruling of February 1.

Police has arrested three more Members of Parliament (MPs) on Friday, including Abdulla Shahid, Abdullah Riyaz and Abdulla Latheef. So far, six opposition MPs have been arrested by the police.

Speaking to media, Ali Zahir, Deputy leader of Adhalat Party blamed President Yameen for the prevailing unrest in the country, “For sure this is direct i nstruction from him. President Yameen and his government must be treated as a dictator by international community”.

Police allegedly targeted family members of the jailed political leaders and brutally handled and pepper sprayed at close range.

Eva Abdulla, a Member of Parliament tweeted, “Police systematically targeted wives and mothers of jailed political leaders. President @MohamedNasheed’s mother, Colonel Nazim’s wife and Sheikh Imran’s wife, brutally handled and pepper- sprayed at close range”. #MaldivesInCrisis”

The protesters are demanding safe release of arrested MPs. Ali Hussain, a member of Parliament said in his tweet, “President Nasheed’s mother holding a poster of Free MP. Faris, who is the son of President Maumoon. A powerful message to the whole Maldives that injustices will never be tolerated any more”.

The ongoing unrest in the country has severely affected the tourism sector. Large scale layoffs are taking place as resorts are receiving significant cancellations from tour operators.

A majority of resorts and hotels in the island nation are facing over 40 percent room cancellations per day, which directly affects the employees.

Yoosuf Riffath, CEO of Capital Travel & Tours expressed his concern over the ongoing unrest in the country. He tweeted, “#Maldives is now in a very precarious situation due to the #StateOfEmergency and political instability. #Investor confidence is diminishing, #economy is retracting. It’s time for resolving political disposition with meaningful dialogue. No one is above the law”. #MaldivesInCrisis

Situation in Maldives has deteriorated since February 20, when Maldives Parliament approved the extension of the State of Emergency by 30 days, a day after President Abdulla Yameen sought the extension citing threat to national security and the constitutional crisis in the country.

The opposition leaders boycotted the session and called the extension illegal and unconstitutional.

The situation in Maldives intensified when President refused to comply with the Supreme Court’s order to release political prisoners.. Former President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed and Judicial administrator Hassan Saeed were arrested just hours after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency in the country.

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