MDP regrets Maldives regime insults of eminent and brotherly Sri Lankans

The Maldivian Democratic Party expresses profound regret that the Maldives regime officials and their sponsored publications have insulted eminent and brotherly Sri Lankans who organized the peaceful demonstration of 14th November in the vicinity of the Maldives High Commission in Pamankada, Sri Lanka.

Maldives High Commission officials were reported to have foul-mouthed high profile Sri Lankans who were among the organizers of the demonstration, including film maker Manik Sandarasagara, and his colleagues.

A group of about 25 Sri Lankans carrying placards gathered in front of the Maldives High Commission in Sri Lanka on Sunday and voiced concern for political detainees in Maldives. They called for the restoration of electoral and civil rights of would-be candidates being barred by the government to contest general elections for which the application deadline is November 15. The Sri Lankan traffic police dispersed the group as the street leading to the Maldives High Commission was a narrow lane and vehicles carrying invitees to Eid (Ramazan festival) there were having difficulties accessing the road, a Sri Lankan news reporter on the scene told MDP officials.

The demonstrators later regrouped in front of the Euro Cinema in the vicinity of the Maldives High Commission. “By then the group was about 70 strong. They stayed there about an hour and a half before peacefully dispersing”, a journalist said.

“They (High Commission officials) called us impotent idiots and coup-plotters and kept saying it was Sri Lankans like us who sponsored the attacks in Male in 1983”, a spokesperson for the organizers complained to the MDP. Maldives regime sponsored publications described participants of the demonstration as “People who were barefooted, wearing sarongs and chewing puak or betel leaf, ….. riff raff- the equivalent of partey’s (a Maldivian jargon for drug dealers)”

An eminent Sri Lankan who called the MDP offices in Beddegana explained : “The demonstration was not planned to coincide with any national or religious functions but with November 14th, (a Sunday) which was the last day of forwarding applications to stand for the forthcoming general elections. It was deplorable that they would revile Sri Lankans in such a manner”.

Many would-be candidates for the forthcoming general elections are being barred from their civil and electoral rights, pending trials or release from arrest, a spokesperson for the organizers noted. “The government is thereby depriving the constitutional rights of thousands of their supporters” he said.

The Maldivian Democratic Party extends its gratitude for the sympathy expressed by the demonstrators for political detainees and their solidarity with us for condemning violations of human, civil and electoral rights by the Maldives government.