“Just 300 police and military officers sustaining regime”: former President Nasheed

Ousted President Mohamed Nasheed last night claimed that only 300 police and military officials were keeping the “coup government” of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan from falling apart.

Nasheed made the remarks during a ceremony held last night on Male’ City Council hall to release a report on the findings of the controversial transfer of power on February 7, produced by a team of Danish legal experts from University of Copenhagen, and a book about the event written in Dhivehi by Ali Moosa Didi.

Nasheed stated that there were “lots of measures” taken to ensure that the “illegitimate” government remained in power, and that the 300 officers were playing a pivotal role in the process.

“300 police and military officers are responsible for undermining the public interest of the entire country, and following that coup, a lot of measures and efforts are being carried out to ensure the survival of the coup regime, and these 300 officers are playing a pivotal role in it,” he said.

He also claimed that in the course of these efforts, police brutality and state sponsored torture had shown an “alarming” increase.

Nasheed also reiterated that his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had “not run out of options”, adding that its core identity was built on “not backing down”.

Nasheed said the party could “advocate and negotiate”, but said the most effective way to bring about early elections and restore the country’s democratic legitimacy was through continued “direct action”.

“Direct action”

During the last two weeks, the MDP has been carrying out what it has called “direct action” protests.

While the opposition party contends that its protests have been “largely peaceful”, the ongoing demonstrations have at times turned into violent clashes with police. This violence has led to allegations of police brutality against demonstrators, and counter claims of protesters attacking reporters and security forces.

The MDP stated that it expected its protests, stated to continue until the present government of President Waheed “topples” would continue indefinitely. The MDP alleged that the Waheed administration came to power in February 7, through a “coup d’etat” and therefore had no legitimacy.

Party MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor who is currently under arrest following the protests at the time claimed that the MDP was committed to managing “peaceful, disciplined” protests, though he accepted that violent confrontations appeared to be increasing between police and protesters.

He alleged that this violence was a result of law enforcement officials increasingly showing a “lack of discipline” on their part.

The Maldives Police Service has contended that it continues to use “minimum force” to protect its officers during the demonstrations.

Conversely, while police have said that none of its officers were hurt in the last 24 hours, there have been serious and minor injuries sustained by police during attacks by individuals suspected of being affiliated with anti-government demonstrators.

On July 12, an attack near Dhilbahaaru Magu in Male’ required one officer to fly to Sri Lanka for treatment for head injuries received from an assault with a pavement brick.

Minivan News has observed protests in recent weeks switching from heckling and mocking of officers at police barricades to violent confrontations as police have charged through protest lines, while demonstrators themselves have broken through barricades to confront police.

Police have come under particular criticism by the MDP for using pepper spray directly in the faces of protesters – an accusation denied by law enforcement authorities.

“Maldives Police did not use any excessive force nor was pepper spray directed to anyone’s face,” police said in a statement at the time.

However a video released of the incident showed a riot police officer reaching over a crowd of people surrounding Nasheed and spraying him in the face. Nasheed turns away as the spray hits him, and is taken away by his supporters, but later returned to the protest.

In this environment, the government has itself called for “calm”, urging all political leaders to abandon the street protests, which have attracted international attention over the last few weeks, and sit down for “sincere dialogue”.

Minivan News tried contacting Presidents Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza, but did not respond at time of press.

EU Concern

Meanwhile the EU has slammed an “escalation of political tension and violent protests” in the Maldives as police confirmed that 50 people – including a former cabinet minister – were arrested during the last two days during anti-government demonstrations.

However, with the arrest of 32 demonstrators in the last 24 hours, as well as a government decision to clear the MDP’s Usfasgandu protest site by July 30, some opposition figures have claimed the tension will likely intensify further.

Spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said there remained “deep concern” in Europe over the political unrest in the Maldives.

“The High Representative is convinced that continued political unrest, heavy-handed responses by security forces, and charges filed against political leaders will only lead to further deterioration of the political climate in the country and will adversely affect the lives of all Maldivian citizens,” stated the EU.

“The High Representative acknowledges the efforts of the Commonwealth Special Envoy, Sir Don McKinnon, to strengthen the Maldives Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) whose purpose it is to establish an objective account of the events which led to the resignation of President Nasheed and the transfer of power to the present Government on 7 February 2012. She appeals to all parties to refrain from any actions that could jeopardise completion of the Commission of National Inquiry’s work, including legal action against political leaders”.

The calls followed a statement released by the Commonwealth this week urging all parties to show “restraint and restore calm” as initiatives like the reconstituted Commission of National Inquiry (CNI).  The CNI, expected to be completed by next month, was  established to ascertain the truth between February’s controversial transfer of power.

In a statement released Tuesday (July 17), Commonwealth Secretary General’s Special Envoy to the Maldives, Sir Donald McKinnon called for dialogue among political leaders, urging all parties to show “restraint and restore calm.”

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11 thoughts on ““Just 300 police and military officers sustaining regime”: former President Nasheed”

  1. wrong. there are many maldivians who support the coup govt. whether its legitimate or not people dont care. money, religion and xenophobia plays vital role in sustaining the coup.

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  2. Yes, this is a government held together by brute force. They have run out of options. Keep up the pressure MDP. Let them know that there are Maldivians who don't give up and accept that might is right.

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  3. 300 my ass. Over 90% of police hate his guts, his male' supremacist attitude n how he put a stop to so many criminal investigations. his claims r based on diplomacy not truth.

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  4. @SCAMGER

    Suggest you write when you are coherant.

    Anni a male supremacist? Are you confusing Anni with Sheikh Shaheem?

    Anni put a stop to criminal investigations? Are you confusing Anni with Judge Abdulla?

    And truth? The coup government and its supporters are speaking the truth?

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  5. @Scamger

    I think salt sand has not yet dried on your feet thats why you think Anni is a supermacist. If it had dried properly you will know that Anni is working for the betterment of the entire Maldives and not just Male'

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  6. Anni was on CNN today on Farid Zakaria's show, one of the most watched in America. Hopefully this will help draw attention in America to the illegitimate coup government running the Maldives. If pressure from the international community can bring down dictators like Qaddafi and Mubrarak despite their massive military muscle, it can take down Gayoom and his 300 goons!

    But I am about the only non Maldavian that reads this site, and the MDP protests in Male are not exactly breaking news on CNN or BBC. It is CRITICAL that all who love democracy and oppose totalitarianism spread the word in US and European and Indian media about the illegitimacy of the puppet Waheed and his puppetmaster Gayoom. Drastic measures like a total ban on international flights may be needed to bring down the regime which is sustained by the dollars it extorts from foreign tourists.

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  7. Supremacist?

    It does not matter what the real story is. What matters is how well it is convoluted and presented to the public.

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  8. Note to the Presuident: upon being restored to power please do NOT repeat your mistake of giving amnesty to Gayoom and his henchmen. Karma requires that they relive what their thugs did to Evan Naseem.

    Sir, despite your strong sense of mercy and reconciliation please remember how you felt when they pepper sprayed you in the face. Review the videos of how they manhandle women who peacefully protest. Their sins cannot be forgiven THIS time Mr President.

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  9. THIS IS SPARTA!

    (Sorry, couldn't resist joking about the very obvious reference to the movie...)

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  10. Dudes u sound like u actually know Anni personally... Yeesh.. N for the record judge Abdullah is not on the police hero worship list either. Try n do sum public service first b4 u pretend to know sumthing.... Gayoom, anni, whoever has come to control the police hav tried to make police do their dirty work for these politicians... U put so much faith in these scum.... It's pathetic.... All these ppl r attracted to power bcoz they r so corruptible.... They pledge development for all of Maldives but not without personal gains... They r never sincere n always opportunistic... Dont think u know everything... Stop following these cult leaders n do it ur selves... If u only knew how vile n corrupt our presidents have been... 30 years they had Police in their fist n another 3 years they had them enslaved so u cud hav ur 'freedom'. Dont know what this new government is up to either. Don't come out on the streets in their name... Trust no politician

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