Adhurey and other protesters released with a fine

“Where’s my flat?” protest carried out in Malé City by the opposition PPM and PNC coalition on March 5, 2021 | Photo: Sun

Malé, Maldives – Maldives Police Service has released the 25 individuals in Malé, from the opposition protest held in the city yesterday, as part of their weekly Friday demonstrations.

Among arrested was the leader of the opposition coalition, Abdul Raheem (Adhurey), along with opposition council members, and supporters of the opposition from the general public who were taken to Dhoonidhoo Detention Center yesterday.

While the opposition were faced with the consequences of violating the preventative measures put in place by Health Protection Agency (HPA), such as the banning of being out in public in groups of more than five, many have pointed out that the law enforcement authorities keep turning a blind eye to the same violations when made by the ruling party, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

While the opposition protests were ongoing, MDP held the opening event of a campaign office in Hulhumalé, which was attended by the Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed, as well as several other members and supporters of the party.

Images taken from the event showed that the number of attendees to at least exceed ten. However, no action was taken against the group.

These protests comes after a series of rallies 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.