Protest hits Ruder Finn

A 15-strong group gathered outside the London offices of Ruder Finn on Tuesday to protest about the agency's work for the Maldives government.

The protest, which coincided with Maldivian Independence Day, saw placards bearing slogans 'Islamophobes and dictators', 'Ruder Finn: no client too toxic' and 'Gold medallists of spin: Ruder Finn'.

The criticism came after Ruder Finn was blasted by British-based pro-democracy group Friends of Maldives for accepting a brief to promote a tourism drive by the Maldives government. This followed claims that president Mohamed Nasheed was removed in a coup d'etat in February.

Agency boss Nick Leonard had not faced protesters himself as he was on holiday.

But he defended the agency's actions, saying: 'I believe in freedom of speech and they have the right to voice their opinion.'

A Rooster PR social media campaign was also hijacked last week. People posted tweets such as: 'Brutal coup regime suppressing our rights to freedom of expression and assembly' alongside campaign hashtag #sunnysideoflife.

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