Police in the Maldives used tear gas and pepper spray to control a crowd of people who disrupted a yoga event organised by the Indian High Commission in the capital Male, an organiser said.

The crowd stormed a stadium where more than 150 people, including diplomats and government officers, were taking part in an event celebrating International Day of Yoga, attacking participants and vandalising the property, one of the organisers said.

Earlier, the protesters carried placards proclaiming that yoga was against the tenets of Islam.

Islam is the state religion in the Maldives, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean with a population of about half a million.

Police responded with anti-riot measures and later used pepper spray and tear gas to control the crowd and secure the area, a police spokesman said.

Six people have been arrested in connection with the incident.

Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said a police investigation into the incident had begun.

"This is being treated as a matter of serious concern and those responsible will be swiftly brought before the law," Mr Solih said on Twitter.

Radicalisation has been a major concern for security forces in the Maldives, better known for its boutique beachside resorts and celebrity tourists.

Authorities blamed "religious extremists" for an assassination attempt on parliamentary speaker Mohamed Nasheed last year.

The government has cracked down on extremism, with police arresting a suspected recruiter for the so-called Islamic State in 2019, and foreign preachers are banned from entering the country.

The yoga session in Male was one of many organised around the world to mark International Yoga Day, an annual event adopted by the United Nations in 2014.

Students at an International Day of Yoga & China-India Cultural Exchange event in Kunming

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the star participant of one outdoor practice this morning next to an ornate palace complex in the southern city of Mysore.

Participants perform yoga on International Day of Yoga at the Joint Check Post on the Attari - Wagha border between India and Pakistan