28 February 2012
Further Attacks on MDP Peaceful Protesters
Contrary to public claims by regime of Dr. Mohamed Waheed that they will fully respect people’s right to freedom of assembly and that the police and armed forces would act towards protesters with maximum restraint, recent days have seen further police brutality directed at unarmed civilians in the southern city of Addu. Most of those hurt in the incidents – some seriously – were women.
On 26 February, hundreds of supporters of the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) convened in Addu City to demonstrate against a visit by Dr. Waheed and other cabinet members including the Home Minister, Dr. Jameel. The crowd was mostly made up of women carrying banners calling for immediate elections.
When the protesters attempted to protests outside a school in which Dr. Waheed was holding a rally, security forces charged without warning, using batons, tear gas and pepper spray indiscriminately. A number of people, mainly women, were seriously injured and taken to the nearby Hithadhoo regional hospital.
Meanwhile, police did not intervene when a crowd of pro-government supporters attacked MDP campaign offices in Feydhoo and Hithadhoo. Indeed, police later denied that there had been any attacks at all.
During a speech to government supporters in Addu on Sunday, the Home Minister Dr. Jameel announced that 11 cases against individuals thought to be involved in violence in Addu on 8 February had been forwarded to the Prosecutor-General. However, there was no mention of cases being brought against police officers for the widely-reported beatings, arbitrary arrests and allegations of torture committed on 8 February in Male and Addu. Nor has Dr. Jameel or Dr. Waheed condemned Sunday’s attacks by police against unarmed women and other civilians.
“MDP urges the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives and the Police Integrity Commission to urgently investigate these latest instances of police brutality and to make their findings public” said Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, MDP spokesperson for international affairs.
Hamid Abdul Ghafoor
Spokesperson, International Affairs