12 people arrested in opposition protest in Malé City

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People’s National Congress (PNC) coalition protesters seen in February 12, 2021 protest | Photo: Avas

Malé, Maldives – Maldives Police Service has arrested twelve people from the oppositions protest in Malé City.

According to the spokesperson of the opposition coalition, Heena Waleed, council members of both PPM and PNC had been arrested during todays protest. Opposition had protested today calling to give harsh punishments to the people involved in sexual harassment and abuse cases in the country.

Police had given a warning that they would stop all protests being held against HPA guidelines set out to curb the Covid-19 outbreak in Maldives. Opposition has 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 in their Friday protests.

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.