THE UNITED STATES: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday urged the government in the Maldives to lift a blockade of parliament where troops have barred the opposition from taking their seats.
Guterres called on the government to uphold free speech, the right of assembly and “refrain from all acts that result in the harassment and intimidation of members of parliament, political parties, civil society and the media.”
For the past days, soldiers have barred the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) from entering the parliament complex, with witnesses reporting shoving as MPs were forced back from the barricade. Lawmakers who tried to enter the compound were hit with pepper spray and forcibly evicted.
In a statement, the UN chief expressed concern “with the gradual erosion of basic democratic norms and principles” in the Indian Ocean island country and urged dialogue.
An opposition coalition, united against President Abdulla Yameen, had been threatening to move a no-confidence motion against the speaker in a bid to impeach the president’s ally.