Protests: Maldives tourists warned

2010-07-21 19:05

Colombo - The US and Britain on Wednesday issued warnings to their citizens travelling to the capital of the Maldives, where a deepening political crisis has led to violent protests.

The Indian Ocean archipelago, an upmarket tourism destination famous for its beaches and turquoise waters, has been gripped by a bitter power struggle between the president and the opposition-led national parliament since June.

Several street demonstrations in the highly congested capital island of Male last week injured at least nine police officers and six civilians.

In separate warnings issued online, Britain and the US noted that demonstrations in Male could get out of hand and warned visitors to avoid large political gatherings and state buildings.

Most tourist resorts are located outside Male and most tourists travel straight from the airport island to their resorts without going to the capital.

"The demonstrations have not targeted foreigners, and there have not been any demonstrations in the resort islands or outside of Male," the US embassy in Colombo added.

Police broke up an unruly gathering of ruling party supporters in the capital on Tuesday after they surrounded a school where the speaker of parliament had gone for his weekly badminton game.