Amnesty International, United States and the main opposition party criticised a nationwide 30-day state of emergency declared by Maldives President Abdulla Yemen Gayyom, giving more power to security forces following an explosion on his boat which was claimed by some to be an assassination attempt by the government.
A state of emergency decision was declared just two days before the planned protest by the main opposition, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) which will organise a mass demonstration on Friday to announce the release of its jailed leader, former President Mohamed Nasheed.
The party also demands current president Yemen Gayoom’s resignation.
Party spokesman Hamid Abdul Gaffoor said, "Yameen has jailed or threatened every opposition leader, placed criminal charges against 1,700 opposition activists, and is now turning on his own by jailing the vice president. For the good of the nation, it is time for Yameen to resign".
Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International's Maldives researcher, said the emergency declaration was surprising and that the government hasn't given a clear justification for its move that has curtailed many rights including freedom of assembly.
He said, "The declaration of a state of emergency must not be a precursor to a further crackdown on dissent or other human rights violations".
The United States has expressed ‘deep concerns’ about recent issues and urged the Maldives government "to restore immediately full constitutional freedoms to its citizens by terminating the state of emergency."
State Department spokesman John Kirby also called for an end to politically motivated prosecutions and detentions, including the case of former president Mohamed Nasheed.
The democratisation process continues to move on insuperably since the first multiparty election in 2008 which ended 30 years of autocratic rule by Gayoom's half-brother.
Nasheed had to resign following public protests against his decision to order the arrest of a top judge in 2012 as the first democratically elected president had been jailed for 13 years under the terrorism law due to his role in arresting the judge.
Voting on state of emergency is expected to be carried out on Thursday and most probably will be passed in parliament which Gayoom’s party has important seats.