Maldives Parliament Shut Down To Stop Speaker's Removal

The Maldivian army has locked down the country's parliament after the opposition vowed to move ahead with a vote against a key ally of President Abdulla Yameen. Politicians defied the ban on Monday, fighting off riot police and scaling metre-high walls to enter the parliament compound.

The opposition was hoping to hold a vote to impeach Speaker Abdulla Maseeh, whom they accuse of ignoring allegations of corruption and rights abuses, before the lockdown came into effect. They had secured enough support from government defectors to begin impeachment proceedings earlier this month.

But the ruling party dismissed the motion after Yameen announced that four of the defectors had lost their parliamentary seats. Ahmed Mahloof, an opposition politician, said soldiers carrying batons followed the members inside on Monday and forcibly ejected them. "Soldiers in riot gear are dragging elected members out from the parliament," Mahloof told Al Jazeera. "This is clearly unconstitutional. Many of us have been injured." Videos posted on social media show soldiers pushing politicians out of the building. A few appear to have been injured.

"There is no better symbol of Yameen's dictatorship than the image of his security forces barring elected MPs from parliament. This president has lost all legitimacy and credibility," said Eva Abdulla, an opposition politician from the Maldivian Democratic Party. The army could not be reached for comment.

Courtesy:Al Jazeera