Second day of unrest in Maldives

The leader of Maldives main opposition party has been taken into custody.

Last Updated: Jul 16, 2010, 15:52 PM IST

Colombo: Demonstrators were on the streets of Male, the Maldives capital, on Friday protesting the previous day`s arrest of the leader of the main opposition party, officials said.

The Maldives National Defence Force took People`s Alliance party chief Abdulla Yamin into custody on Thursday, claiming it was at his request and for his own protection.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that Yamin should be released from the house arrest imposed on him while cooperating with police on an enquiry into bribery and treason charges.

The defence force refused to bring him to a court hearing as requested by the judge and took him into military custody instead, prompting his supporters to protest and clash with supporters of the ruling Maldives Democratic Party.

The President`s Office released a statement on Friday, saying that "the government will take legal action against those who have engaged in unrest in Male", and accusing Yamin`s supporters of instigating the violence.

The tourism-dependent country has been in turmoil since the cabinet resigned on June 29 protesting blocking tactics by the parliamentary opposition, who have a slim majority in the Maldivian Majlis.

The cabinet was restored on July 08 after Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa intervened.

Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed was elected in October 2008, ending 30 years of autocratic rule of the Indian Ocean island nation by Mohammed Abdul Gayoom.

IANS