There is an increased chance of protests in Malé, the US warned Saturday, issuing a security alert for the Maldives as tensions run high in the capital.
Special Ops used teargas to disperse opposition supporters celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision to release high-profile prisoners. Officers with riot shields on one of Malé’s main roads told people not to take part in any protests, asking everyone to immediately leave.
Reporters from the Maldives Independent witnessed people being manhandled to the floor before being arrested and led away. They also saw around a dozen canisters of teargas thrown towards protesters.
The US embassy’s security alert follows an updated travel advisory from the UK about unrest in the troubled tropical paradise.
“Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations,” said the US embassy alert.
“Americans in Maldives are encouraged to review their personal security plans; remain aware of their surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security, and follow instructions of local authorities.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sought to reassure the international community and its development partners, saying there were no safety issues for foreign nationals working in the country or tourists.