Elections Commission expresses concern over police attacks on peaceful protest gatherings

The Elections Commission (EC) has issued a statement expressing concern that the police have been attacking and arresting Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters during peaceful protest gatherings.

The commission also said it had noted that the police had dismantled all MDP protest sites across the country.

‘’We are especially concerned with how the police dismantled the MDP protest camp at Lonuziyaarai Magu (tsunami monument area),’’ the commission said. ‘’Security forces have to act within the law.’’

The Elections Commission advised police not to use unlawful force against political parties.

President of the Elections Commission Fuad Thaufeeq today told Minivan News that the commission did not know of any reason why the area should be closed for protesting.

”According to the information we have the area belongs to Male’ City Council and the MDP did get the required permission from the council,” Thaufeeq said. ”The police dismantled the area after the MDP had been there for a long time.”

‘’It is the right of all the political parties to conduct political activities any where except those areas prohibited for political activities by law,’’ the EC said in the statement. ‘’No one has the right to unlawfully obstruct anyone from obtaining this right.’’

Police pepper spraying a demonstrator

Police Superintendent Ahmed Mohamed said “certain institutions” were making statements “without asking the police their side of the story”, and appealed to these institutions not to do so.

Yesterday in a statement police said that ‘’the major operation that took place yesterday evening was to restore the peace to the capital city as well as to investigate the complaints received from public sources that criminal activity was taking place at the camping site.’’

‘’Police had definite reason to believe that the violent attacks in Male’ was connected to the protestors who started demonstrations from the Lonuziyaarai Magu ‘Raalhugandu Sarahadhu’,’’ the statement said. ‘’The police acted in this operation empowered by law under the clause 244 of Constitution of Maldives and clause 6 of Police Act 5/2008.’’

The police said the area was vacated in order to preserve the site for inspection and to search for evidence suggesting any illegal activity in the area.

‘’The public is informed that items confiscated from the area will be returned to their rightful owner in accordance to the proper police procedures, and local media is advised to report facts responsibly to the community,’’ the statement added.

The area was initially closed to journalists as police moved in to dismantle the protest site on Monday night. Police subsequently allowed journalists access and displayed a number of beer cans they claimed had been found at the site.

The protest camp has been running near the tsunami monument since the MDP government was ousted on February 7, in what former President Mohamed Nasheed maintains was a police and military-led coup de’tat, sponsored by several wealthy resort owners affiliated with the former opposition.


11 thoughts on “Elections Commission expresses concern over police attacks on peaceful protest gatherings”

  1. Hmm.....atlast we found someone influential and not corrupt on our side!! Mr.Fuad I am so happy you talked for our poor citizens who have been brutalised and their properties vandalised by the police on a daily basis....

  2. when will MDP express concern over attacks on police, by thugs and gangsters possibly allied to MDP? The photo depicts nothing but police gently removing a protester. there is no brutality going here.

  3. @ rasheed mia.
    your interpretation of "gently" is yes very personal as well as your definition of "no brutality".
    It may works inside of your private walls (ouch!) but believe me, outside around you, the concept of "gently" and "no brutality" are pretty different. The photo depict four armed robots dragging a totally scared woman, holding a broken Maldivian Flag in her hand. I would say this woman is a symbol for the broken Hope of the Country to live in Peace.
    A masked police group in action cannot represent a peaceful enviroment, with all the respect for the men who have to carry on their duty.

  4. @rasheed mia
    What about the second pic
    Gently spraying paper spray on a person just becoz he was wearing a yellow t shirt?

  5. after the fake protest for 3 weeks paid for by the mafia it is obvious that only Waheed uses the Army as a weapon of choice. Anni always walked away from confrontation - even on the 7th February.

  6. "The armed forces are meant for this nation and this people, and it should be such a force having the honour and respect of the people. If instead the armed forces should come to be hated by the people, then the aims with which this army has been built up would have been in vain."
    -Aung San Suu Kyi, (Burma, Nobel Prize Winner).She knows what she is talking about. She is one of far too few politicians in the world with any moral stature.What she says above, referring to her own country is equally true for ours. The police and armed forces are here to protect our people, not to attack them at close range with the infamous pepper spray and worse. No excuses.

  7. Mr. Fuad is indeed being very neutral. Kudos to him. Maybe the other independent commission members can take a leaf out of his book - & become more impartial & objective in handling matters.

  8. The Election Commission has in general operated impartially and efficiently. The strike by their staff is an act to discredit this institution.
    Mr. Thaufeeg is correct. In these instance the MPS has acted outside the law! Peaceful Political activity by one Party cannot be restricted. Also they simply cannot confiscate private property without a court order.

  9. Commisioner of police,
    Are you telling me that I should believe the poor woman in the first pic can create violence??? Its because of your institution (Police) our institution (MNDF) gets in to trouble all the time.... First its Ivaan Naseem and now its your mutiny police ( few of them ) Show your professionalism!! Do not mess around with non - combatant civilains, especialy woman!!


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