MDP Condemns Home Minister’s Unlawful Decision To Obstruct Mass Rally

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) condemns in the strongest terms Home Minister Umar Naseer’s unlawful orders to Police to restrict and obstruct MDP’s peaceful protest “Minjuvaan” (Liberation) scheduled for Friday.

Police had earlier agreed to allow MDP to continue the mass protest for three days in a meeting held with MDP officials on Wednesday night.

Police backtracked on its decision on Thursday morning citing the Home Minister and instructed the rally would be confined to the Artificial Beach area and would be called off by midnight Friday. Police also said that protestors would not be allowed to take to the streets at any time during the demonstration.

The MDP has not changed its plans to continue the rally for three days as planned earlier.

The Police on Wednesday had agreed to allow the protest to continue for three days as planned by the MDP. The Police were given prior notice as per Section 27 of the Peaceful Assembly Act. However, as stated in Section 42 (a) of this Act, Police failed to respond within 12 hours of receiving this notice to inform of any changes to the planned demonstration.

“The Home Minister influencing the police now is politically motivated and unlawful. The Police have the right to disobey unlawful orders,” MDP spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said in a statement issued in Colombo.

The MDP also deplores that plans to hold a mass protest on 06 November had to be called off after President Yameen Abdul Gayoom declared a state of emergency on November 4. The emergency, declared amidst dubious security measures following an explosion on a speedboat carrying the president, was called off after four days.

Furthermore, it is deeply concerning Deputy Parliamentary Group Leader of PPM on Friday morning tweeted saying the protest on Friday can be an act of terrorism under Section 4(a) of the newly passed Prevention of Terrorism Act.