MDP Condemns Narrowing of Rights to Assembly, Targeted Arrests; Call for Release of all Political Detainees.

The Maldivian Democratic Party condemns the arrest of MDP Vice President Mohamed Shifaz, MP Fayyaz Ismail, National Council Member and former MP Ilyas Labeeb and 23 others from Friday night’s peaceful protest calling for the release of President Mohamed Nasheed.

The MDP notes with concern the rising number of individuals being arrested by this government for simply exercising their constitutional right to assembly. On Thursday afternoon 14 individuals – almost all women – were arrested, followed by 26 on Friday night. On Friday afternoon individuals carrying out a boat protest calling for President Nasheed’s release were surrounded by coast guard and police vessels near Dhoonidhoo detention centre.

Also of concern is the intimidating and confrontational nature of the Police who dismantle these protests. Police arbitrarily announce areas where the public cannot assemble, closing down main roads at random. Protesters have been heavily pepper sprayed, and masses of riot Police have charged at peaceful protesters on the capital city’s busiest roads.

The MDP notes, on two separate occasions, in full view of the media, Police have allowed armed gangs, loyal to the government, to attack pro democracy protesters. There have also been reports of masked police in plainclothes attacking members of the public during these protests. No action has been taken against these individuals.

The MDP calls for the immediate release of all political detainees.

Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, MDP spokesperson said,

“What we are seeing is Maldivians are unwilling to let the country slide back to a dictatorship and they have had enough of Yameen’s authoritarian tactics. We will continue to protest in resorts, airports, and in Male’ until President Nasheed is released. It is becoming increasingly clear Yameen is isolated both by Maldivians and the world”

MDP International Spokesperson