Opposition planning large protest in Malé

Opposition protesters outside the Parliament | Photo: Nishan Ali, Mihaaru

Malé, Maldives – Opposition PPM-PNC have revealed plans for a large protest in the capital Malé next Friday.

In a press conference earlier today, People’s National Congress (PNC) Vice President Mohamed Nimaal stated that supporters in numerous atolls have requested to join the rally planned for next Friday, with many ready to complete 14 days of quarantine after attending the protest.

However, opposition leaders do not fully support this idea, and have instead urged all supporters in Malé to show up next Friday. Nimaal said that he is sure this will be a large event, one that will be attended by numerous people that want their voices heard by the government.

This comes after a series of protests led by the opposition by taking to the streets of Male’ of which, the latest was in protest of the recently published list of “Hiyaa” flat winners.

The protests were initiated with the aim to bring justice to people who have lost or did not receive their apartments after ‘Hiyaa’ Public Housing Scheme was released on the 10th of February. Many protesters and police officers have suffered several injuries during clashes which have occurred during these demonstrations.

The PPM and PNC coalition decided to keep protesting and take action following a recent decision of the High Court, to uphold an earlier sentence by the Criminal Court’s which has led to Former President Yameen continue his 5 year money laundering sentence in Maafushi Prison.

Head of Malé City Police, Chief Superintendent of Police Abdullah Shareef has previously stated at a Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) press conference, that legal action would be taken against any further protests in the capital city. He added that the opposition has been advised against these protests multiple times and that further protests would be considered as an obstruction to justice.

However, Former Chief Justice of the Maldives Dr. Ahmed Abdullah Didi has said that legal action cannot be taken against the opposition for protesting, replying to statements from Maldives Police Service saying that protests are not allowed.

The opposition has continued to protest in Male’ by violating several guidelines released by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While most protesters do wear masks, social distancing is not followed, which is very alarming as Covid cases in Maldives are at an all time high, with latest reports indicating that only 23 beds in Malé Covid-19 facilities are vacant.