Malé, Maldives – The protest held last night by youth grass root movement “Rise Up Movement” against sexual harassment at the workplace was dispersed with violent force by the Maldives Police leading to public outcry.
According to reports, the peaceful protestors were ordered to disperse by the police which they refused, leading to physical violence by the police against protestors, including using pepper spray at close range and protestors being taken to Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital.
The police also used violence against media covering the protests.http://
The Maldives Journalist Association has also called out to the government and police leadership to investigate last night’s police abuse and ensure a safe working environment for journalists while covering protests. The association accused the police of abusing their power and targeting journalists on the scene, in a clear effort to prevent reporting of police activity in protests.
The protest was organized by youth movement “Rise Up Movement” to express their dismay at the impunity given to perpetrators of sexual offences, and call out to the parliament to address workplace harassment separately in the legislation, since the existing legislature is generalised and does not cater to workplace sex crimes.
They also demanded to bring back the alleged sexual offender and former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed, allowed to leave the country with 7 counts of workplace sex offence charges against him. While Prosecutor General’s office is investigating the issue, and has the option to pursue an Interpol red notice, such an action is yet to be taken.
Maldives has seen an increase in reported sex crimes in recent weeks with crimes against teenagers and toddlers, and a body snatching, assault incident creating public uproar and protests in the communities and social media.