Day of protests ends with pepper spraying of Umar Naseer

An opposition protest held last night near the artificial beach was dispersed by police after the group tried to make its way towards the intersection of Majeedhee Magu and Chandanee Magu, the focal point of last week’s violent demonstrations.

Earlier this week police had announced they were restricting protests to the artificial beach and tsunami monument areas, and have since quickly dispersed those conducted elsewhere.

Demonstrators at the artificial beach last night carried placards written in English reading “Remove sex offenders/drug addicts from government”, and “Resign now”.

As the demonstration took place, five rows of police and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) personnel armed with heavy wooden batons stood between the 300-400 demonstrators and the route down Majeedhee Magu.

At around 11:30pm demonstrators, attempted to reach the intersection and were forced to split up by groups of police with interlocked arms.

Police eventually used pepper spray to subdue several protesters who attempted to force their way into the intersection, including dismissed Deputy Leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Umar Naseer.

Placards at the artificial beach

“Five or six people who tried to force their way through our shield line were arrested and taken to police headquarters, and then released,” Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said.

Minivan News observed a light police presence all over the city, with larger squads of riot police stationed near key locations such as the President’s Office and the Chandanee Magu intersection. Several MNDF troop trucks stood ready outside the MNDF headquarters, but the military presence appeared minimal.

Besides the opposition protest and groups of young men hanging around the intersection heckling police, Male’ was unusually quiet for late evening. Entire city blocks in the north-east of the city were closed off and Republican Square was deserted.

An opposition protest in the square that morning involving several hundred people was quickly dispersed by riot police, and covered by foreign media including Associated Press and Al-Jazeera. The protest was subsequently rescheduled for the evening.

Later in the afternoon, a somewhat carnival atmosphere descended over the city as the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) staged a flag-waving counter-protest of several thousand people near the tsunami monument, alongside a concert stage and a police road safety campaign consisting of upturned cars and burned motorcycles.

Five lines of police blocked off Majeedee Magu.

“Anti-government protesters claim the uprising is inspired by the Arab revolution, that people power is rising up,” reported Al-Jazeera. “But here on the other side of town are thousands of voicing pointing out that the revolution has already happened.”

In an interview with the news network, President Nasheed accused the opposition of trying to reinstate authoritarian rule.

“I don’t think these are spontaneous demonstrations. If you look at the events and incidents [this week] it is very easy to understand this is very well stage-managed and fairly well played,” he said.

Al-Jazeera observed that “while leading opposition figures are clearly at the forefront of these demonstrations, they deny this,” and interviewed DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali.

“It is not attempt overthrow or change the government, it’s just raising voices,” Thasmeen told Al-Jazeera.

Note: Maldives coverage begins at 0:50


20 thoughts on “Day of protests ends with pepper spraying of Umar Naseer”

  1. Noooo Al Jazeera! Stick to our plan, we want a revolution toooo. Nasheed is a dictator. We really want Nasheed to be a dictator and have some real drama on the streets, if Arabs can have it why can't we?

    Haha nailing lumps of jelly to wall.That's what they are doing, begging and cajoling a few retirees and a paying a few goons... with their tabloid sensationalist VTV and DHiTv anchors probing questioning and hoping for some drama....duly provided by Umar Naseer... jello falling off on one side they run and fix on the other.

  2. hahaahahaha just wat umar naseer deserved, please opposition parties, you have educated young leaders, dont listen to idiots like umar naseer....

  3. It would do a lot of good if world media (the more, the merrier) would gather in the Maldives, check and balance to whom the bells were being tolled by this government, the previous government and its predecessor; then report what all this is about!

    It is shameful when the likes of Thasmeen and Gasim come out on the street and blabbering about economy; price of dollar!

    President Nasheed should act according to what he believes is best for his people and his country; and stop dancing to composed music!

  4. haha! Mundhu thought al jazeera would believe his nonsense but they saw the truth. i hear bigger report is coming out soon on al jazeera also.

  5. t o to to too to Coka tooo, reply from thasmeen to the aljazeera reporters. i guess the old dictators still cant fool journalists with credentials unlike our own few hoodwinking ones. specially mr. harugaa. people play drama's on stages and people do this using actors, not with a backbone breaker submarines.

  6. Al-Jazeera observed that “while leading opposition figures are clearly at the forefront of these demonstrations, they deny this,”

    I'm glad the international media came here and finally saw reality. There's no revolution here and this is not a young peoples revolution either. It's a carefully orchestrated attempt by the former henchmen of Gayyoom.

    The government should actually be giving away free flights and accomodation to international media at this time, to come and see the truth! I have always said, the biggest achilles heel of this government has been their mismanagement of communications.

    President Nasheed made a good start by giving a very solid speech yesterday. Both he and his cabinet need to do more of those. Just raising the odd circular here and there from their offices will no longer do the job.

  7. DRP - go home. You have your turn with no name for 30 years. Give this Government a chance. Remember - We agreed 5 years in the Constitution. You are not keeping your word. So you are a bad player and we cant trust you. You know why it is 5 years and not 30...cos we do not want anyone do that to this country again what your leaders did.

  8. It is time to bring the crooks who are hiding behind this drama. Umar Naseer is no political figure. He must be treated like anyone else.

  9. The only way to win Maldivian hearts is through Hindi dramas. Opposition should clear the streets and hire a film crew to produce a drama series (in Hindi) about the evil stepmom Nasheed.

    Good luck with that (too)

  10. If the youth led protesters are not harrased and if they are allowed to protest with no riot police intervention i bet gud reasonable law abiding citizens in Male' can fill up every inch of Majeedhee Magu.This has been witnessed 2 n8.Ppl protested with full police protection.Afeef ge airugaanooni order ka fuluhun ijaaba e nudheyne dhene.They have realised that the protesters cannot be silenced and harrased by baton charging and gassing them...more importantly there is no way law enforcement can justify arresting &halting protest leaders in law legal ground what so ever to declare these protests as illegeal as well.Army and police has actually forced Anni to negotiate with the youth though barbaric MDP thugs are against negotiation and compromising.
    We really dnt want to hurt our bros in uniform unlike the MDP thugs and the power hungry joker Anni.if we choose we kud fight back and hold ground against the riot police.MDP is fast sinking n Shaheed is there 4 the final nail to complete MDPs coffin...Its really janaaza time for the MDP .lol

  11. well, as far as what i have witnessed during the last 6 days, its the good citizens who are protesting against the raising prizes of common goods and services. It have always been peaceful protests, but its the police who try to make the protesters turn violent with their batons and tear gas. Not even a single day had passed when protesters initially had turned violent when until when police starts beating them.

    Under the fundamental right chapter of Maldives constitution, we are allowed to gather and protest peaceful to anywhere at any time. So, how can the police disperse the protesters when they remain on the street junction expressing their views peacefully.

  12. @FedUp

    "We really dnt want to hurt our bros in uniform unlike the MDP thugs and the power hungry joker Anni.if we choose we kud fight back and hold ground against the riot police."

    Listen to yourself! What you call thugs are a legal party as much as any other party. I don't think people like yourself are doing anything good to this country.

    I'm quite certain, those behind the protests realised they were neither going to be able to overthrow the government or tarnish its image as they hoped. International media saw this circus for what it was. Mundhu's rantings to the media have been exposed as outright lies, since the international media saw reality for themselves.

    There's no point in banging your chest and utter nonsense about "thgus, coffins, nails, janaazaa" etc... Go, and wash yourself, and spend a night at prayer; you might calm yourself down a bit...

  13. Why Anni is so scared of opposition protests? Before coming to power he was the main advocate of freedom of assembly and human rights. What happened after Anni got power is truly transformational. Hunger for Power! What else! I hope you understand now why Gayyom stayed in power so long and why he still wants to come back.

    Why can't Umar Naseer or the opposition figures sit at Juhooree Maidhaan peacefully and express their view as you have demonstrated to all of us claiming that it is a right of every Maldivian. This is double standard. It was a very timid act by the current president who says one thing and does something else.

  14. Mulla Umar is no longer valid..delete.
    I know Mulla for years and he is the one of the most corrupted businessmen in the Maldives. He joined hands with JAsim which Mulla thought would assist him finalizing dollar deals..but Ganjaa blocked it. Now Mulla having such a huge out standing to pay Jasim, there is very little he can do. No job from DRP not contribution for IDP. Go to hell looser.

  15. ahmed nazeer on Sun, 8th May 2011 3:48 AM

    "its the police who try to make the protesters turn violent with their batons and tear gas. Not even a single day had passed when protesters initially had turned violent when until when police starts beating them."

    Your protesters had the foresight to have Molotov cocktails ready, just in case they were baton charged by the police. Excellent. Well done.

  16. Chasmyn couldn't even answer a simple question in English and yet dreams of becoming the next President.


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