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Anti-government protest turns violent in Maldives

Anti-government protesters in the Maldives and a group supporting the regime clashed on the streets of the capital, and police used tear gas to try to control the violence.



Male: Anti-government protesters in the
Maldives and a group supporting the regime clashed on the
streets of the capital, and police used tear gas to try to
control the violence.

Several people were arrested, and some government
buildings damaged.
Thousands of people gathered at a main intersection in
the capital Male for a third straight night yesterday for an
overnight protest against government inaction in controlling
rising prices, alleged mismanagement and wasteful spending.

They have been demanding that President Mohamad Nasheed step
down.

But clashes erupted after a group of government
supporters attacked the protesters with rocks. Both sides then
hurled rocks and bottles, prompting police to use tear gas to
disperse them.

It was not immediately known if people were injured.
Later the protesters briefly gathered at a different location,
but police dispersed them again. Disgruntled protesters then
started fires on the roads and attacked government buildings,
police spokesman Ahmed Shiyam said.
He said six protesters were arrested.

Opposition spokesman Mohammed Shareef said organisers
called off the protests for the night after police dispersed
them. He denied attacks on government buildings, blaming
instead people with violent backgrounds who infiltrated the
crowds.

The protesters are mainly upset over the government`s
decision last month to allow the Maldivian currency, the
Rufiyaa, to float against the US dollar. A sudden devaluation
of the currency has resulted in higher prices for essential
commodities, most of which are imported.

Nasheed was elected president in 2008 in the country`s
first multiparty election after 30 years of authoritarian rule
by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who is credited with developing the
country into a popular tourist attraction.

Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago of 1,200 islets,
has a Muslim population of around 300,000.

PTI

From Zee News

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