Hundreds protest in Maldives; govt vows crackdown

Protesters have taken to streets for 5 consecutive nights over rising prices.

Last Updated: May 06, 2011, 16:25 PM IST

Male: Hundreds of protesters in the Maldives joined an opposition-led rally on Friday to protest soaring prices they blame on the government`s reform policies. Officials warned the demonstration could turn "nasty" and vowed to break it up.

Nearly 1,000 demonstrators turned up in this small Muslim nation`s Republican Square after Friday prayers saying reforms proposed by International Monetary Fund sent commodity prices high.

Protesters have taken to the streets for five consecutive nights over soaring prices alleged mismanagement by the government and demanding President Mohamed Nasheed step down.

Nasheed was elected in the country`s first democratic election in 2008 after a 30-year rule by Maumoon Abdyl Gayoom.

Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem told reporters in Sri Lanka`s capital, Colombo, that the opposition is harming the economy.

"Today, there is a planned big demonstration, which may go quite nasty," he said hours before the protests began. "So, police have taken appropriate action to prevent any damage to public property, damage to people and to keep order in the country."

The country`s defence force says the demonstration will be broken up because it is organised in a high security area.

Bureau Report