Opposition block Maldive Prez from addressing Parl

Male: Angry protesters and lawmakers from deposed president Mohd Nasheed`s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) today picketed the Island nations` parliament in a bid to prevent the head of state from making his first address to the MPs.

Police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators who clashed with them while the Parliament`s security staff forcibly removed two MDP lawmakers who were trying to block the new president Mohammed Waheed Hassan from addressing the Parliament.

This was Waheed`s second attempt to address the Parliament since he took office last month in a contentious power transfer.

Later Waheed in a tweet blamed his predecessor Nasheed for the protests, alleging that he (Anni) is directing the chaos in Male. He said there was no excuse for the international community to ignore Anni`s "anarchic behaviour".

The Speaker Abdulla Shahid suspended proceedings after ordering the two MDP lawmakers to be evicted from the House. As lawmakers prevented Waheed from addressing the Parliament, police fought battles with stone-pelting demonstrators outside.

A fire was noticed at an auction store house       in the Southern part of the capital male, which is a VVIP area. The flames were close to the Male`s main powerhouse. The new developments in Male came after Nasheed`s party on Sunday night passed a resolution vowing not to allow Waheed into the Parliament.

Commonwealth Secretary General`s special envoy Sir Donald Mckinnon met with leaders of the country to pave the way for a peaceful opening of the Parliament. He met Waheed and former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and Nasheed. Meanwhile, the Inter Parliamentary Union Delegation which arrived here on Saturday also made efforts to let Parliament to do business without any hindrance.