Maldives: Military’s Siege of Parliament Continues

Maldives: Speaker Barricaded Behind Wall of Soldiers in Parliament Chamber

31 July 2017, MALE: The Maldives military, acting under illegal orders from President Yameen, continued its siege of parliament today, despite government denials that parliament was under military occupation.

The parliament chamber was packed with soldiers today, who forcibly removed opposition MPs from the building and formed a military cordon between MPs and the Speaker of Parliament, Abdulla Maseeh. Troops remain in control of parliament at the present time.

This morning, at around 9 am, parliamentarians arrived for work to find the building full of plain-clothed soldiers. MPs remarked that there were more soldiers in the Majlis chamber than there were parliamentarians.

Opposition MPs protested the presence of soldiers in the parliament chamber, the refusal of the Speaker to permit a no confidence vote against the Speaker, and the detention of four opposition MPs who have been unlawfully arrested in recent days. Soldiers then forcibly removed opposition MPs from parliament.

Maseeh, sitting behind a military phalanx, presided over the session for approximately two minutes before leaving. No other parliamentary business took place.

Maseeh, a Yameen crony, faces a vote of no confidence that the Yameen regime is desperate to prevent from happening. Yameen ordered troops to seal off, and then storm, the parliament last week in order to prevent the vote of no confidence from taking place.

Having lost his parliamentary majority, President Yameen is now forced to use the military and the courts to maintain his increasingly tenuous grip on power.