MALE, Maldives – A crowd of people disrupted a yoga event organized by the Indian High Commission in the capital Male, Maldives on Tuesday morning, according to sources, forcing local police to use tear gas and pepper spray to control the chaos.
The Indian High Commission (also called embassy) in the capital Male was holding an event to celebrate the International Day of Yoga, but a crowd stormed the stadium where more than 150 – including diplomats and government officials – were taking part.
According to one of the organizers, who did not want to be named, told Reuters that the crowed attacked participants and vandalized the property.
Police responded with anti-riot measures and later used pepper spray and tear gas to control the crowd and secure the area, Superintendent of Police Fathmath Nashwa told Reuters. At least six people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Meanwhile, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih tweeted “an investigation has been launched by @PoliceMv into the incident that happened this morning at Galolhu stadium,” saying the perpetrators must be brought to justice.
“This is being treated as a matter of serious concern and those responsible will be swiftly brought before the law,” he added.
Earlier, the protesters brandished placards proclaiming that yoga was against the tenets of Islam, as NDTV reported.
Maldives, officially the Republic of Maldives, is an archipelagic country located in Southern Asia, situated in the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 750 kilometres (470 miles; 400 nautical miles) from the Asian continent’s mainland.
Islam is the state religion in the Maldives, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean with a population of about half a million.