The ruling coalition has accused the opposition alliance of plotting a violent overthrow of the government at an anti-government rally tomorrow.
The ‘Maldivians against brutality’ coalition last night turned down last minute overtures for negotiations when President Abdulla Yameen appointed the tourism minister as his envoy for talks.
“We will only sit down to negotiate with the the president of this country,” the Adhaalath Party president Sheikh Imran Abdulla told the press last night.
The opposition has held daily protests over the imprisonment of ex president Mohamed Nasheed and former defence minister Mohamed Nazim. The alliance has vowed to bring out 25,000 people on the streets of the capital Malé to “end the government’s tyranny.”
Imran said tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb had sent him a letter seeking a time and place for negotiations, but declared that Adeeb is “unfit” to negotiate with the opposition, calling him “corrupt”, “a venial sinner” and “a criminal”.
Adeeb has called Imran’s refusal to meet him “cowardly” and “effeminate” in a tweet this morning, dismissing the allegations of corruption and illicit connections with gangs as lies.
Government ministers and ruling party MPs held a joint press conference this afternoon, and claimed the May Day protest will not be peaceful.
The opposition is calling for an overthrow of an elected government and attempting to destabilise the country, Adeeb said today.
“Our security forces are ready,” he said.
He accused the Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim of “funding” the May Day protest and hiring Imran under “a contract”.
Imran is “playing the religious card” and inciting the public to rise up against the government, Adeeb said.
President Yameen had maintained on Monday that he saw no reason to negotiate or resign in the face of the’May Day’ mass rally. However, at a government ceremony the following night, Yameen said he has appointed Adeeb as his representative.
As the opposition build up to the mass rally continued and supporters from the atolls converged on Male’, Yameen has made daily public appearances this week.
Speaking at a ceremony held yesterday to accept membership forms of opposition councillors from Shaviyani atoll, Yameen accused the opposition of sowing discord, destabilising the nation, and disrupting peace and security.
Unlike the opposition parties, Yameen said the PPM will not seek power at any cost and was “impatient” to develop the Maldives.
The PPM will not torch buildings, assault civilians, and “commit atrocities,” he said.
He reiterated the government’s stance of upholding the rule of law and enforcing court verdicts.
At a live programme on opposition-aligned Raajje TV and Villa TV last night, opposition alliance leaders warned that the government will abolish political parties and establish a full-fledged “dictatorship” if tomorrow’s attempts to force president Yameen to come to the negotiating table fails.
The chairperson of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party Ali Waheed dismissed claims by police that the opposition is planning a violent confrontation with police.
The Maldivian people will be on the street “as one congregation” tomorrow.
“I want to tell the public, don’t be afraid, the whole world is watching,” he said.