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Tension in Maldives rises as new president opens parliament

(Xinhua)

08:58, March 20, 2012

MALE, March 19 (Xinhua) -- The Maldives saw more streets fights on Monday as the new president opened the parliament despite strong objection by former president led opposition.

President Mohammed Waheed who was prevented opening the parliament People's Majlis' on March 1 by lawmakers of former President Mohamed Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had rescheduled the opening for Monday despite public protests in the streets of Male and protest by MPs within the parliament.

Waheed who entered chamber to deliver the opening address had to return twice despite shouting and objection by MDP's MPs.

In the streets of Male, clashes between police and anti- government protesters resulting arrest of 41 protesters and injuries of both policemen and protesters.

Issuing statements on Monday's tense situation, the Police Integrity Commission denounced the alleged violent acts committed against security forces by protesters while the MDP condemned the assault and all acts of violence against protesters by forces.

Protesters have demanded an early presidential election and a political agreement prior to the opening of the People's Majlis.

The country has become politically unrest since the controversial power transfer from former president Nasheed to Washeed on Feb. 7.

Nasheed claimed he was ousted from office in a police and military-backed coup and demands the new president to step down.

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