Joint Opposition Statement: Anti- Yameen Protests Enter 4th Week, as the Crackdown Intensifies

3 March, Male: Anti- Yameen protests in the country have entered its 4th week, even as President Yameen intensifies his crackdown. Maldivians, across the country have been holding street protests, calling on the President and authorities to implement the February 1st Supreme Court ruling. The ruling ordered the release of political prisoners and the reinstatement of unconstitutionally removed opposition lawmakers. Yesterday’s protests by the Joint Opposition were held in the Capital, and throughout the country.

At yesterday’s protest, demonstrators were met with what has become typical Police brute force, since the crackdown began with President Yameen’s declaration of State of Emergency on February 5. 17 people were arrested, including 4 women (one pregnant), President of the MDP Youth Wing, and 3 Members of Parliament.

Former Speaker of Parliament, MP Abdulla Shahid and MP Abdulla Latheef have been charged with obstruction of Police duty, for standing on the road, instead of the pavement. MP Abdulla Riyaz is being held under “state of emergency.” The Police have thus far held the jailed Supreme Court Justices political leaders and lawmakers under “state of emergency,” in which case they can be held indefinitely, without due legal process.

The Police also systematically targeted the wives and mothers of jailed political leaders. The police, repeatedly force- handled and pepper- sprayed at close range President Nasheed’s mother, Sheikh Imran and Colonel Nazim’s wives who were attending the demonstrations. The unwarranted attack on the families demonstrates the lack of professionalism, and absolute politicisation of the Maldives Police Service. President Yameen is abusing the Maldives Police Service to attack his political critics in the most cowardly way possible.

A total of 110 individuals have been arrested since the declaration of state of emergency and 31 of these are currently being held without a trial under “state of emergency” rules.

Protests continued till early hours of the next morning. On February 26, the Police imposed a 10:30pm curfew in an attempt to stop the opposition’s protests and momentum. Protesters have however, called on the Police to not issue or obey unconstitutional orders.

The Joint Opposition will continue and intensify protests as long as President Yameen refuses to lift his unconstitutional state of emergency, and refuses to fully implement the February 1 Supreme Court ruling of the full bench.

The Joint Opposition demands the immediate release of all political detainees, including the parties’ leaders, the Supreme Court Justices, the Members of Parliament, parties’ elected officials, and all other arbitrarily detained activists and security officers. The Joint Opposition further reminds President Yameen to fully implement the February 1 Supreme Court ruling, bring an immediate end to the State of Emergency, and to restore the fundamental rights, and constitutional checks and balances.