Protesters are advised not to obstruct the implementation of police duties, the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) announced in a press statement (February 17), according to local media.
The PIC noted that police and protesters are sustaining injuries ‘typically’ caused when police break up protests, which occurs “when protesters break through police barricades” and gather at locations prohibited in the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly act.
Protesters were advised not to obstruct police duties and “exercise their freedoms” within the limits of the law, while the PIC advised police to “only use force to the extent demanded by the given circumstance” and also to keep their actions within the limits of the law, local media stated.
Under the new bill, citizens are not allowed to hold gatherings within a certain distance of the headquarters of police and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).
Among the key features of the bill is the outlawing of demonstrations outside private residences and government buildings, limitations on media not accredited with the state and defining gatherings as a group with more than a single person.
Demonstrations would also be outlawed within a certain distance of the residences of the president and the vice president, the offices of the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), tourist resorts, harbours utilized for economic purposes, airports, the President’s Office, the courts of law, the Parliament, mosques, schools, hospitals and buildings housing diplomatic missions.
The bill also states that demonstrators wishing to protest against a specific individual, may not use megaphones, stand outside, or have a sit-down outside that person’s residence.