An hour after the first session of the People’s Majlis concluded, MPS and MNDF officers blockaded, occupied and dismantled Justice Square, at south east side of Male’ where the Maldivian Democratic Party has organized peaceful, pro-democracy rallies since the first democratically elected Government was ousted on 7th February in a military/police backed coup.
Over 100 uniformed police officers in riot gear with MNDF officers surrounded the area and prevented people entering into the area. People who were inside the tents and the control room, including media were forced to leave. MDP has received reports of accredited media personnel sprayed with pepper spray in the area. Furthermore, Police also disconnected the surveillance camera system and sound system installed in the area by the MDP. Additionally, personal belongings are being searched in the tents without a search warrant.
The area is under the authority of the Male’ City Council and has been given to the MDP for the purposes of its democratic rally. The Council has confirmed to MDP that the Maldives Police Service had not informed the Council of anything prior to them arriving/dismantling Justice Square.
MDP strongly condemns the acts of the Police in the past month, with reference to intimidation of protestors expressing resistance towards Dr. Waheed’s regime and calling for early elections. MDP spokesperson for international affairs, Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said “Thousands of people have been rallying daily to express their dissatisfaction over the transfer of power. The Police crossed the line on 6– 8February, and regretfully demonstrated the same behavior again today. In continuing this way, they are proving the public’s lack of confidence in the Police. We call on the Human Rights Commission, Elections Commission and the Police Integrity Commission to investigate this immediately.”
MDP condemns all acts of violence and strongly condemns abuse of Police power by officers of the Maldives Police Service. MDP notes and regrets that riot officers showed extreme disrespect, including abusive language towards protesting women earlier today outside the People’s Majlis ahead of Dr. Waheeds attempt to give the Presidential Address prior to a political commitment on early election date.
Hamid Abdul Ghafoor
Spokesperson, International Affairs