MALDIVES, Male: Police used tear gas and pepper spray this week to control a crowd who disrupted a yoga event organized by the Indian High Commission in Male, the capital of the Maldives.
An organizer, who did not want to be named, told Reuters that the crowd stormed the stadium, in which more than 150 people, including diplomats and government officials, were celebrating International Day of Yoga, and attacked participants and vandalized property.
The protesters brandished placards claiming that yoga went against the tenets of Islam, which is the state religion in the Maldives, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean with a population of some half million.
Superintendent of Police Fathmath Nashwa told Reuters that the police responded with anti-riot measures, including using pepper spray and tear gas to control the crowd.
Nashwa added that six people were arrested in connection with the incident.
Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said a police investigation into the incident has begun, writing on Twitter, “This is being treated as a matter of serious concern and those responsible will be swiftly brought before the law,” Solih said.