30 held in Maldives after protest against president's speech

Last Updated: Thu, Mar 01, 2012 09:10 hrs

Colombo, March 1 (IANS) Over 30 people were arrested in the Maldives Thursday after former president Mohamed Nasheed's supporters launched a protest to prevent President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik from addressing parliament.

At least 14 police officers were injured in the protest, Haveeru Online reported.

As many as 34 people were taken into custody after they hurled stones and wooden objects and broke through police barricades.

Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) parliamentary group Wednesday decided to prrevent Waheed from delivering his speech.

The party has refused to recognise Waheed's government as it claims Nasheed was ousted Feb 7 in a coup backed by Waheed.

An MP told Haveeru Online that MDP members Thursday removed the seat allocated for Waheed and labelled it "Traitor Waheed".

Some parliamentarians tied yellow neckties around their foreheads as they held "traitor" placards in their hands at the entrance of the parliament chambers.

President's Office spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza said: "This is a really embarrassing scenario. We are witnessing blatant violations of the constitution as the need for the presidential address is an obligation by law. To deter that obligation is a serious offence."

Mediamen inside parliament were barred from using mobile phones, and the live TV feed of the parliament session was also cut off.

Police had closed 15 roads leading to the parliament building.

More from Sify: