Mayday Protest: Two Police Officers involved in stopping the protest did not do Public Order Training

Police arrests during youth protest against workplace harassment held on May 1, 2021 | Photo: Adhadhu

Malé, Maldives — It has been revealed that two of the officers involved in stopping the youth grass root movement “Rise Up Movement” against sexual harassment protest did not do their Public Order Training.

The MP for South Galolhu Constituency, Meekail Ahmed Naseem questioned the Home Minister Imran Abdullah noting that the Police had misused their powers in stopping the protest and questioned whether any actions have been taken against them and to reveal it if they have. Along with this, Meekail also questioned whether the Officers involved in the incident that night had received the appropriate training for it.

Minister Imran responded to Meekail’s questions and informed that the investigation on how the Officers controlled the protest on Mayday and that the Disciplinary Board is currently discussing the actions that will be taken.

Along with this, Minister Imran also mentioned that only eight out of the ten members of the Quick Reaction Team that involved in stopping the protest that night completed their Public Order Training. However, Minister Imran noted that while two members did not do the training, one officer has been leading the team for almost a year and the other officer has so far not completed their Police Recruit Training Course.

On the occasion of World Labour Day on May 1st, the youngsters of Maldives organized a peaceful protest, “Rise Up MV Movement” against sexual harassment experienced by workers in their place of employment. 

The organizers had earlier informed that the protest will be taking place in accordance with the Covid-19 health and safety restrictions provided by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and that it will begin at the Rasfannu area.

After hundreds of youth-protesters raised their voices against the sexual harassment that workers have to endure at their workplace in Rasfannu area, they proceeded their way to a new location but were halted by the Maldives Police Service (MPS) reportedly warning protestors to not take their demonstration to the inner-city or they will be arrested, although they have previously allowed political parties to conduct political activities on the road.

While local media outlet states that the police had violently disrupted the peaceful protest of the youngsters, a video spreading rapidly in social media show that Police had pepper-sprayed some protestors at close range and had violently removed individuals. Along with this, the video also showed that the Police had sprayed pepper spray onto a woman while arresting her along with the people near her. 

While the Police officers involved in stopping the protest that night were suspended from the frontline, some protesters ended up at the hospital to get treated for the injuries they received from the protest and some were taken into Police custody as well.