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Troops surround Maldives parliament to protect president

Latest crackdown on opposition MPs threatens vital tourist economy

BANGKOK -- The 85-member parliament in the Maldives, a necklace of islands and atolls in the Indian Ocean, has come to resemble a military camp. On July 24, troops were deployed to stop opposition parliamentarians entering the legislature. Lawmakers who tried to breach the military cordon were forcibly carried out by soldiers, triggering clashes through the week in Male, the Maldivian capital, between lawmakers, the police and the military.

President Abdulla Yameen's embattled administration has become dependent on the 3,000-strong military to maintain its hold on the archipelago, which is better known for its high-end tourist resorts on idyllic, isolated islands. Yameen's hardline response was to scuttle efforts by an emboldened opposition to use the July 24 sitting of the Majlis, as the parliament is called, to seek a no-confidence vote against Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed, speaker of the house and a Yameen ally.

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