The Canadian government has issued a travel warning for the Maldives, urging residents travelling to the popular tourist destination to “exercise a high degree of caution.”The advisory is in line with what several other countries — such as the U.K., France and China — have told their citizens in recent days.The Maldives government declared a 15-day state of emergency earlier this week amid political uncertainty and violent protests. Much of the unrest is concentrated in Malé, the capital of Maldives.“Recent protests led to clashes with police in central Malé,” Global Affairs Canada spokesman Philip Hannan told Global News in an email.“Further protests and clashes are possible and could lead to violence. Canadians travelling or living in Malé, are advised to be vigilant at all times, avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings and follow the instructions of local authorities.”
The government is also urging Canadians with travel plans to Malé to contact airlines or tour operators to see whether the political situation will disrupt plans.Global Affairs added that Canada is “concerned” about the situation in the Maldives: “Canada is closely watching the situation in the Maldives with concern. We call for respect for judicial independence, democratic institutions and for freedom of speech and assembly. Canada urges all sides to engage in inclusive dialogue and to exercise restraint.”READ MORE: Why Canadians are being warned about visiting parts of JamaicaThe Canadian government does not have an embassy or office in the Maldives. The High Commission of Canada in Sri Lanka is responsible for the Maldives, but in case of emergency Canadians can contact [email protected], or find more information here. Here’s what to know about the situation in Maldives:Why is there civil unrest?The political crisis in the Maldives deepened this week after embattled President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency and ordered the arrest of top judges and a former president.Yameen, who came to power in 2013, has presided over an escalating crackdown on dissent that has battered the Maldives’ reputation. He has jailed almost all the political opposition.
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