Anti-Islam film sparks protest in Maldives

People cross as riot police officers stand guard on a street during a protest by the supporters of former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed in Male early September 1, 2012. (REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

COLOMBO: Hundreds of men and women demonstrated outside the United Nations building in the Maldives over an anti-Islam film that has led to protests around the world, police said Saturday.

"About 100 to 400 people gathered outside the UN building during a two-hour period last evening and dispersed peacefully," Maldivian police spokesman Hassen Haneef told AFP by telephone.

The private Minivan newspaper said Friday's protesters set fire to a US flag outside the UN compound in the capital island of Male.

The Maldives is an Islamic republic known for its liberal lifestyle among the 330,000 Sunni population.

However, authorities have been concerned about rising extremism in recent years and have resisted calls from extremists to shut down the country's luxury tourist resorts, which serve alcohol and pork.





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