The Maldives president has declared a 30-day state of emergency ahead of a planned anti-government rally. The declaration by President Abdulla Yameen gives security forces sweeping powers to arrest suspects. It comes two days before the planned protest by the country’s main opposition, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). MDP leader Mohamed Nasheed was jailed in March after a widely criticised conviction under anti-terror laws. Attorney-General Mohamed Anil said a cache of firearms and explosives had recently been discovered, as well as plots to use dangerous weapons.
The Maldives has been rocked by political infighting in recent weeks, with Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb arrested in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate the president by blowing up his boat. Mr Yameen narrowly escaped injury but his wife was hurt when a blast struck the boat, which he was using to return home from the airport last month. Mr Adeeb has been charged with treason.
The FBI in the US investigated the blast and said it found no evidence that it was caused by a bomb.
Did You Know???
- The first actual kingdom in Maldives was said to have been established by the son of the king of Kalinga in India.
- The Maldives boasts a 98-percent literacy rate among adults; this is a huge jump from 70 percent in 1978.
- In the 16th century, the islands were colonized by the Portuguese, who attempted to convert them to Christianity. The conversion failed, ending in violence and bloodshed.
- The Maldives Constitution was written in 1997, and specifies that citizens must be Muslim—it actually specifically forbids the following of any other religion.