The Maldivian government declared a nationwide state of emergency for 30 days starting 12 noon (local time) on Wednesday in view of threats to national security and public safety.
Attorney General Mohamed Anil announced the decision made by President Abdulla Yameen, who issued the executive decree based on advice from the National Security Council following the recent discovery of firearms and explosives, Xinhua news agency reported.
The security forces have uncovered plots to use dangerous weapons, Anil said.
The declaration comes two days ahead of a mass protest planned by the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, whose leader Mohamed Nasheed is in jail after a conviction under anti-terror laws.
The 2013 Freedom of Assembly Act has been suspended.
Under article 254 of Maldivian constitution, a state of emergency “may include the temporary suspension of the operation of laws and infringement of certain fundamental rights and freedoms.”
The constitutionally mandated 14-day notice before voting on a motion to impeach the president or vice president has also been shortened to seven days.
The ruling party had submitted a motion to impeach Vice President Ahmed Adeeb on October 28.
He is under arrest on suspicion of links to an explosion on the president’s speedboat on September 28. The government says a bomb targeting the president caused the explosion.
Another explosion device was found near the president’s official residence and safely defused by military.
Over a third of the country’s 340,000 Muslim population lives on the capital island Male, where authorities said the device was found.