Maldives arrested 139 opposition protesters under state of emergency

Vastavam web: Police in Maldives arrested at least 139 opposition protesters, its spokesman said on Saturday, as they attempted to defy orders under the state of emergency and march into the high security zone in capital Male.Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has extended the state of emergency for 30 days through March 22 after declaring it on Feb. 5 following an order by the Supreme Court for nine opposition leaders to be released.

Police spokesman Ahmed Shifan told Reuters that 141 people were arrested in protests late on Friday, though two men were subsequently released.Witnesses said masked special operations policemen arrested several protesters, while riot police charged with shields and used pepper spray and tear gas to break up the protests.Rights group Amnesty International said, Maldivian authorities are using the state of emergency as a licence for heightened repression and the 139 people have been detained “solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly”.