Maldives Opposition Blocks President from Addressing Parliament

Posted March 1st, 2012 at 7:05 am (UTC-5)
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Supporters of Maldives former president Mohamed Nasheed blocked roads and clashed with police in an attempt to block the country's new leader from making his inaugural speech to lawmakers.

Supporters of the former president's Maldivian Democratic Party blocked roads leading to parliament and clashed with police outside of the building leaving at least three officers seriously injured and dozens of people arrested.

Meanwhile inside, opposition lawmakers removed the seats belonging to the president and the speaker, preventing President Mohamed Waheed from addressing the assembly.

In a statement Thursday, the United States embassy expressed concern over the protests and disruption saying it welcomes the efforts of all sides to participate in a dialogue on the democratization process that could lead to conditions for early elections.

It urged all parties to continue to work “collaboratively and peacefully” and to not allow violence to further complicate the situation.

Mr. Nasheed resigned last month after weeks of public protests and loss of support from the military and police. He later said he was ousted in a coup and was forced to resign at gunpoint.