MP Riyaz refuses to apologise for ‘discriminatory’ tweets

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Riyaz Rasheed has said his tweets about prohibiting “islanders” from traveling to protest in Malé were misinterpreted.

Raajje therey meehun [islanders] will no longer have the opportunity to come to Malé, protest on the streets of Malé, assault and harm police,” the MP for Thaa Vilifushi had tweeted on Thursday.

The security forces will no longer allow “islanders” to protest in the capital anymore, he tweeted the following day.

Riyaz’s tweets sparked an outcry on social media. An online petition was also launched calling on the MP to “publicly apologise for his discriminatory and bigoted views against people who are not from Malé.”

The PPM parliamentary group’s deputy leader told Haveeru today that he will not apologise as he did not consider the phrase “raajje therey meehun” to be derogatory.

Riyaz said he meant the opposition alliance will not be allowed to deceive people from the atolls and bring them to Malé for violent protests.

Responding to outrage over Riyaz’s remarks on Twitter, PPM parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan said the MP has been told to change the phrases used in his tweet.

“I hope he will apologise soon!” the majority leader tweeted yesterday.

President’s office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali meanwhile tweeted today: “Under this government, from HA Thuraakunu to Addu City will be first class Maldivians. There will be no discrimination.”