LGA suspends seven councilors over May Day protest

The Local Government Authority (LGA) has suspended seven councilors who took part in an anti-government demonstration on May 1.

All seven had been arrested in a police crackdown after protesters attempted to enter Malé’s restricted Republic Square. They were suspended for two months, local media reports.

Councilors are elected for island and atoll councils for three years. There are over 1000 councilors in the Maldives.

According to the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), some 300 of its 450 island and atoll council members had taken part in the protest. Some 7000 people had traveled to Malé from Maldives’ remote islands for May Day, the opposition has claimed.

Nearly 20,000 protesters took part in the May Day march and demanded the release of imprisoned ex-president Mohamed Nasheed and ex-defence minister Mohamed Nazim.

Home minister and president of the LGA, Umar Naseer, has also asked the anti-corruption watchdog to penalize any councilors who had traveled to the capital on state funds.

According to the opposition coalition, 12 employees of the state were dismissed for participating in the protest.