Islanders of Filladhoo in Haa Alifu Atoll gathered at the beach yesterday upon President Mohamed Nasheed’s arrival on the island to protest the current government’s religious policy.
President of Filladhoo Council Mohamed Vijaan told Minivan News that the protesters conducted the protest to express their opinion from the time President arrived until he left the island.
“I do not know which party they represented or the amount of protesters,’’ Vijaan said. ‘’They were protesting against placement of ‘idols’ in Addu and demanding to give the money that Filladhoo is waiting to receive from the money foreign countries gave in aid to the country following the 2004 December tsunami.’’
Vijaan said the money was granted to the Maldives during the time of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
‘’Due to a court ruling the money was not given to Filladhoo, and this government said they would appeal the case at the High Court but after that there was no news of it,’’ Vijaan said, adding that 110 houses in Filladhoo were destroyed by the tsunami.
He said President Nasheed arrived to the island at 12:20pm and left at 3:30pm yesterday. The protesters protested until his departure.
Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair said that it was not a protest but a group of people expressing their opinion.
‘’There was no unrest,’’ Zuhair said. ‘’It was this government that introduced freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.’’
According to the President’s Office the President met with Island Councils of Filladhoo and exchanged views with the Council members on proposed development projects for the islands.
‘’He also called for the support of the Island Councils in executing government policies,’’ read a statement on the President’s Office website.