Top opposition members arrested during protests

Opposition protests in Malé | Photo: Unknown

Malé, Maldives – Multiple members of the opposition coalition have been arrested by Maldives Police Service during the ongoing protests in Malé today.

So far it has been reported that at least four high level opposition members have been taken into custody for participating in protests which Maldives Police Service has declared unlawful.

As such, Deputy Mayor of Malé City Ahmed Nareesh, MP of Guraidhoo constitution Mohamed Ghassan and MP of Maavashu constituency Mohamed Saeed as well as former MP of Hoarafushi constituency Mohamed Ismail have been taken into custody. Out of these members, Nareesh was arrested just before the protest began.

However, the opposition leader and Former President Yameen Abdul Qayyoon has not taken to the roads and participated in the protest. Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) justified his absence by stating that Yameen did not receive security clearance to partake in the event.

While multiple other protestors have also been arrested during the protests dubbed “Neyvaaholhiah” by the opposition, Police continues to obstruct protestors. Earlier, Police cordoned off the road area near PPM office with barricades and dozens of Special Operations Police officers are currently active at the location.

Prior to the protests, Police informed the opposition to refrain from hosting the protest and described the protest as unlawful, warning the public that any on land and sea vehicles seen to be participating in the event and encouraging unlawful behaviour would be stopped and searched. Legal action would also be taken against the those who break the law and the protest will be diffused, said the Police.

In the statement released by Maldives Police Service regarding the protest yesterday night, the authority said that there are multiple reasons to believe that the impending protest would not be in accordance with the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly Act.

Meanwhile the Elections Commission has also urged political parties to organise political activities in line with diplomatic policies and to respect international relationships. The Commission also urged political parties to obey the orders of official government authorities.

The ongoing protest by the opposition coalition which is expected to go on until 18:00 is the first of its magnitude since Yameen was released from prison.