British travellers to the Maldives have been warned to avoid protests following the military blockade of the parliament building in the capital, Male.

Security forces in Indian Ocean archipelago renowned for its luxury resorts locked down parliament on orders from the president yesterday.

This triggered clashes after opposition lawmakers stormed the compound in an attempt to vote on whether to impeach the parliamentary speaker.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued updated travel advice, saying: “Previous demonstrations and political protests have led to violence and arrests.

“You should take appropriate security precautions, comply with local security requirements and avoid large gatherings, protests and rallies.”

The FCO confirmed that MPs had been forcefully removed from the parliament building, leading to local disturbances in the capital.

Members of the armed forces padlocked the gates of parliament on orders from President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, and lawmakers “were forcibly prevented from entering the parliamentary compound,” the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party said.

Some opposition lawmakers broke through the barrier, but they were forcibly thrown out by military and police, according to local reports.

The president has been accused of rolling back democratic gains the Maldives has made since becoming a multiparty democracy in 2008.


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