Feature: Maldives in state of emergency following mild unrest

MALE, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — As the speedboat steamed towards the small island of Male, the high-rise mansions forming the skyline of the city came into sight.

Male, the capital of the Maldives, which is currently facing a state of emergency, looked quiet and placid.

Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen declared a 15-day state of emergency on Monday night, after a surprise Supreme Court ruling last week ordering the release of nine opposition leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.

The Supreme Court ruling was however rescinded on Tuesday.

The Maldivian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday once again gave its assurance that the state of emergency was mostly applicable to the capital island Male, with no curfew imposed and no influence to the general movement of the public or businesses.

Upon arrival at a local hotel on the second night after the emergency was officially announced, the concierge said, although during the day, life in Male was normal and calm, some public groups here were taking part in gatherings at several places on the island in the evenings.

“So, going out at night was not advised.”

Indeed, just outside the hotel, some police were on patrol. And amidst the motorbikes bustling on the street, there were also police cars passing by from time to time.

Several blocks away, police were stationed in front of some government departments, with the road in front blocked.

At around 11 p.m., a flow of motorbikes on the street headed to a square on the shore where around a hundred local folks had already gathered, some whispering, some laughing. While just miles away, dozens of armor clad police were standing by.

The next morning, the ascending sun from the Indian Ocean seemed to have cast off all the unrest at night and students were seen walking to school, while grown-ups in suits rushed to their workplaces.

Local citizen Abdulla Saeed said “The daily routine of ordinary people here has not been influenced much by the state of emergency. Actually, as for the gatherings at night, they have been going on for months and didn’t just start after the emergency was declared.”

Regarding the construction projects ongoing in the Maldives, Site Manager from China Machinery Engineering Cooperation (CMEC)’s office in the Maldives, Liu Jingwen said, all CMEC-contracted projects in the Maldives were going well and the connection and communication between the CMEC and the Maldivian government had thus far not been affected by the state of emergency.

However, the emergency still caused some impact on the island country, known for its beautiful beaches, resorts and sea view.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Male International Airport was not as busy as usual. On other days the airport would have been swarmed by tourists from all parts of the world.

“When I arrived here days ago, the state of emergency had not been issued. And while staying at the resort, I still did not feel nervous about the situation. However, with the scenario being that the situation here may get worse, I decided to go back earlier,” a Chinese tourist, about to embark on the return flight, told Xinhua.

Some decided to return to their home countries earlier, while some others who had booked their trips to the Maldives, canceled the plan after hearing about the state of emergency.

Chen, an experienced guide who has been working in the Maldives for five years, said many Chinese tourists had called off their trips.

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Source URL: Bing News :

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