Maldives. After unprecedented political protests at the end of 2003, the situation remained troubled throughout 2004. A newly formed illegal opposition party, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), tried to pressure the authoritarian government to implement democratic reforms, but public protests were turned down and dozens of people arrested.
According to CountryAAH, the total population in Maldives is 540,555 people in 2020. President Aumun Abdul Gayum proposed a series of radical constitutional changes in June and invited Parliament to debate, but the opposition was skeptical of his honest will. When Parliament convened to start the debate, disagreement over the procedure for electing the President broke out, leaving a quarter of the members in protest.
When around 5,000 people later demonstrated in the capital Male for increased civil rights and the release of political prisoners, riots broke out and hundreds of people were arrested. A state of emergency and curfew were introduced and the debate on a new constitution was declared suspended. The European Parliament blocked aid to the Maldives worth about US $ 2 million and voiced its support for the Maldivian opposition’s demand for a boycott of the Maldives.
Four people, including a former minister, were indicted in early December for participating in the democracy march. They were accused of trying to overthrow the president and risking life imprisonment. However, they were pardoned after the tsunami a few weeks later, when the president wanted to promote national reconciliation. The tidal wave required relatively few human lives in the Maldives but devastated a large part of the tourist islands of which the country is economically highly dependent.