Yoga Day violence not initiated by opposition: EC

Protestors attack participants of Yoga Day event | Photo: Addulive

Malé, Maldives – Election Commission (EC) has said that the clashes to stop the International Yoga Day celebrations at the Galolhu Stadium were not initiated by the opposition PPM/PNC.

Protestors stormed the international Yoga Day event held on June 21, 2022 jointly by the Ministry of Youth and Indian High Commission’s Cultural Centre at the National Stadium, swinging flags printed with Islamic Shahada on a white canvass and shouting “Allah Akbar”. 

In a video widely circulated from the event, participants are seen fleeing from the scene while angry protestors destroyed property, and threatened and harmed participants.

While rioters caused harm to some people and damaged property, police alleged that some of the materials used in the clashes were issued by the opposition PPM office.

The Election Commission had earlier said it would take action if the opposition was found to have played a role in the clashes.

Speaking to local media outlet ’Sun’, EC Chairman Fuwad Thowfeek told that some information and documents had been obtained from the police to investigate the case.

He further added that based on the information obtained from the police, it does not shows the involvement of any political party. People belonging to political parties were involved, but it does not seem to have been done as a party movement or as a party initiative, he said.

For inciting the violence that broke out during the Yoga Day event which was attended by high-profile figures including top government figures, ambassadors and UN representatives, former MP Mohamed Ismail is being charged with participating in an act of terrorism. This charges is raised against six other individuals who also took part in the act with him.

While 15 individuals also face charges of obstructing justice, one was charged with inciting violence using a weapon, while another three were charged with attempting to incite violence using a weapon.

Individuals charged with participating in an act of terrorism:

  • Former MP Mohamed Ismail
  • Abdullah Niyaz, G. Phoenix
  • Ali Mohamed, Ali Aabaadh/Th. Thimarafushi
  • Ibrahim Zihan, Milano/N. Velidhoo
  • Mohamed Shan, Annaarumaage/L. Mundoo
  • Hussain Ali, Baabooge/Hdh. Kulhudhuffushi
  • Ahmed Ali, M. Falhumatheege

Individuals charged with carrying out an act of terrorism:

  • Mohamed Zilian, MA. Kanuhuraa
  • Abdullah Rifaau, Narugisvilla/Th. Thimarafushi
  • Abubakur Faariu, Carnationmaage/N. Miladhoo
  • Ahmed Aksam, Alamaage/R. Kandholhudhoo
  • Ahmed Nasooh, Asrafeevilla/GA. Maamendhoo
  • Hassan Shifaz, M. Kudhehige
  • Shabim Adam, Aabaadheegulshan/F. Dharanboodhoo

Although a total of 21 individuals were arrested over the incident, almost everyone has been released from custody. In addition to the charges, Sheikhs Fazloon and Nishan have also had their preaching licenses suspended over the attack.