Majlis to reconvene amidst ongoing stand-off

Parliament is scheduled to reconvene today for the first time since MDP members obstructed President Mohamed Waheed Hassan from opening the Majlis with his constitutionally-mandated state of the nation address earlier this month.

However, a resolution to the current political stand-off that has so far prevented parliament from functioning since President Waheed came to power appears unlikely .

Amidst calls from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) for all parties to ensure that the Majlis is not impeded upon opening today, President Waheed is scheduled to try and give his speech despite pledges by Mohamed Nasheed and the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to continue block him until a date for early elections is set.

MDP fears

In a statement issued by the MDP last night, the party claimed that “the consent of the governed is the basis of any legitimate government.”

With calls from the bodies like the EU and the Commonwealth calling for early elections to be held, the MDP has claimed that it has “indirect” international backing for its stance that the current government has “ no democratic legitimacy”, at least whilst question marks remain over the controversial transfer of power last month.

“MDP believes the current regime has no democratic legitimacy as it was instituted through the mutinous actions of the security forces, in effect overthrowing the first democratically elected president through a coup d’etat,” the party stated.

“It is paramount that a regime that lacks the consent of the governed and that has robbed the People of their fundamental right to choose those who would govern them, must not have legitimacy conferred upon it by opening the People’s Majlis.”

The MDP added that it has been working with rival political parties and President Waheed as part of ongoing talks to try and find a resolution to the current political upheaval – though it claims it has had limited success so far.

However, the MDP’s stance has led to a stalemate in the reform process with the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) withdrawing from all party roadmap talks due to its blocking of parliament.

Disruptive elements

Criticising the MDP’s ongoing attempts to block parliament, Dr Waheed’s spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza said that the Majlis operated as a separate entity from the president and therefore calls to hold fresh elections were not related to allowing parliament to function.

Riza added that the government was therefore calling on former President Nasheed to “stop advocating violence” particularly among young people, in regards to blocking the Majlis and opposing the government.

“More than 200 youths currently face charges for torching public buildings since February 8,” he added.

Though Riza said that the public would be free to gather on some of the capital’s roads to protest, he added that inside the parliament chamber, it was for the Speaker of the Majlis, Abdulla Shahid, and not the government to ensure parliament functioned correctly.

The presidential spokesperson added that just as under the government of Mohamed Nasheed, the speaker had control of 60 Majlis guards that had the power to remove disruptive elements from the parliamentary floor.

The live feed continues here.

13:34 – One female protester seems to have fainted , while another has been badly affected by gas. “Milk has been put all over her to treat it,” reports Daniel Bosley from between the police lines on Sosun Magu.

13:30 – President Waheed reportedly tells protesters in the chamber “I’ll be back” after having to walk out once again.

13:29 – President Waheed is forced to cut short his speech amongst ironic clapping. Shouts of “long live democracy” are heard as he leaves the floor again.

13:27 – President Waheed is having to shout out his speech as MDP protestors directly heckle him creating a noisy Majlis floor.

13:24 – Police on Sosun Magu have reportedly begun warning protesters they will use “force” to restore order, according to witnesses at the scene.

13:20 – Haveeru has reported that the police are now requesting protesters to being cooperating with them, whilst the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) has strongly condemned the attack on the VTV building.

13:17 – Addu City Mayor Abdulla Sadiq has said there has been no reports of unrest in the country’s second city. He was unable to confirm if any events or demonstrations were currently being scheduled to occur in Addu.

13:13 – President Waheed has once again entered the parliamentary chamber only to leave again soon after.

13:05 – MDP spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor claimed that 20 MNDF are now inside parliament in an attempt to remove Milandhoo constituency MP Riza, Machangoalhi South MP Mohamed Rasheed and Thinadhoo constituency Nazim. Ghafoor told Minivan News that MPs Shifaz and Riza had been injured, meanwhile international observers are said to be looking on at events from the public gallery.

13:01 – President Waheed on his Twitter feed has condemned MDP members and Mohamed Nasheed for blocking parliament. “Anni must take responsibility for the chaos as he is directing the chaos in Male’,” he wrote.

12:51 – MDP members inside the chamber have alleged that the Majlis secretary general has compiled a list of MPs that are required to be removed from parliament before the session can start. The MPs claim this goes against the Majlis rules of procedure as it is for the speaker to say who is to be removed by security officials.

12:45 – The MNDF has confirmed that about 60 per cent of the fire at Neelan Fihaara is under control. People are reportedly taking some items that weren’t burnt in the fire out of the premises.

12:39 – Police have now moved crowds outside of ADK Hospital to the other side of Sosun Magu. Minivan News understands that rubber bullets have been fired.

12:36 – Colonel Abdul Raheem of the MNDF has told Minivan News that security would not hesitate to use rubber bullets to disperse crowds, calling them a “non-lethal weapon” that does not constitute excessive force.

12:35 – Haveeru has reported that some protesters have allegedly harassed and threatened some reporters and media personnel.

12:32 – President Waheed has once again left the chamber after disruptions by MDP MPs who have continued to bang copies of the constitution on their desks.

12:28 – The Majlis session has restarted. President Waheed is now in the parliamentary chamber.

12:25 – Protesters around Sosun Magu have claimed that rubber bullets are being prepared for use by MNDF forces.

12:20 – Minivan News has witnessed that police have cleared protesters from Sosun Magu to the west of the junction by Majeedhee Magu.

12:15 – Maldives Police has announced on Twitter that the protests in Male’ are no longer being considered as peaceful – “necessary force” is now expected to be used.

12:07 – Sun Online has reported that MP Shifaz fell and injured himself during scuffles withi the Majlis chamber. “What happened exactly is not yet clear,” the news agency added.

12:03 – Police are reported to have temporarily cleared rioters away from VTV studios.

12:02 – Several physical confrontations have been reported from within the Majlis with the MDP alleging that MP Shifaz has been taken away by the MNDF suffering from a broken leg.

11:56 – An MDP supporter within the Majlis has alleged that Baarashu Dhaaira MP Shifaz has been beaten unconscious by MNDF forces.

11:52 – Outside ADK Hospital several men have been seen covered in blood. Minivan News has witnessed some figures attacking the VTV building with bricks. Soldiers are blocking the doors to VTV studios.

11:48 – “Police are continuing to deploy gas as protesters are being driven back down the street [Sosun Magu],” reports Daniel Bosley. “Some are attacking soldiers on their way past.”

11:45 – Soldiers in gas masks have been spotted outside the VTV building on Sosun Magu. Unconfirmed reports suggest four people have been arrested on the street so far.

11:40 – Fire-fighters are still having difficulty controlling the blaze in the Neelan Fihaara area.

11:36 – Under parliamentary rulings, the speaker must call the name of an MP three times to leave the chamber for contempt before they can be removed by Majlis security. Two MPs have been removed at present. “It could be a long day,” one observer with knowledge of parliamentary proceedings has noted.

11:33 – “The police and local people are now trying to escort police vehicles from the fire. Firemen are still working to put out the blaze,” Naahee adds.

11:29 – Meanwhile, a fire has continued to rage in the Neelan Fihaara. “The fire has even spread to the land in front of the nearby auctioning market,” reports Mohamed Naahee. “ The police garage is right next door.”

11:26 – “There are people now ferrying cases of water to the protest’s front lines in what appears to be a measure to counter the tear gas deployed by police,” reports Daniel Bosley on Sosun Magu. “People are dousing themselves in water.”

11:23 – Protesters on Sosun Magu are said to be cheering as a riot shield is taken from the police and held aloft. An ambulance has arrived on the scene.

11:20 – Confrontations appear to be escalating in the capital with local media reporting that police have now called for the protest on Sosun Magu to be broken up. Outside Majeediyya school, flags and pavement stones are reported to have been thrown at police.

11:16 – “The situation has really escalated on Sosun Magu with tear gas now being deployed. However, the MDP supporters appear to be regrouping,” reports Minivan News’ Daniel Bosley.

11:13 – A Minivan News reporter has witnessed police deploying tear gas on Sosun Magu.

11:08 – Tensions are escalating across the capital amidst claims that a police officer has been injured in scuffles with protesters. Sun online reports that tear gas has been used in response.

11:02 – Haveeru has reported that protesters gathered near the Health Ministry building have begun throwing bottles of water at police as well as trying to breach their lines. Military personal have also now removed MP Alhan Fahmy from the parliamentary chambers.

10:56 – Local media is reporting that military personnel have now been called to Sosun Magu to assist police with a large protest taking place on the street. A spokesperson for the police told Minivan news that they would be working in collaboration with military officials. “They [the MNDF] will be helping us where needed,” the spokesperson added, without elaborating on the nature of the assistance.

10:50 – Outside the chamber, police are said to have cordoned off more than 15 streets including those surrounding the President’s Office and the Majlis in a bid to try and control protests.

10:46 – Meanwhile, Sun Online has reported that President Waheed was not provided with a traditional “red carpet welcome” when entering the Majlis. He instead entered the parliament gate straight from his car.

10:36 – Haveeru has reported that police have been informing protesters gathered on Sosun Magu that peaceful protests will be allowed as part of their constitutional rights, but action will be taken against anyone found to “impede” police.

10:35 – MPs are drumming on tables with copies of the constitution. President Waheed is reportedly in the Majlis, though not yet in the parliamentary chamber, according to state media.

10:33 – Shahid has called for an intermission amidst continued disruption by MDP MPs.

10:27 – Speaker Shahid has asked MP Alhan Fahmy to leave the chamber due to ongoing disruptions as he tries to establish order to the football match-esque atmosphere. MDP MPs are shouting “Baagee Waheed” for their part.

10:23 – The Speaker has called for President Waheed to deliver his address. The MDP MPs have begun their protest.

10:20 – Parliamentary Speak Abdulla Shahid has just started the Majlis session. He has begun with a eulogy for the late Fathulla Jameel. The MDP have vowed to begin their protest after respecting the eulogy.

10:10 – A group of about 200 anti-government protesters replete with MDP and Maldivian national flags have been witnessed in a sit down demonstration outside Majeediyya school – one supporter has claimed it is the school midterm break at present.

09:55 – A Minivan News journalist in the area surrounding the Majlis says that the situation directly outside parliament remains quiet at present, with a somewhat noisy group of protesters currently having gathered at Sosun Magu as police work to enforce a designated route for demonstrators.

The reporter adds that police have blocked access to the Majlis via Fehimagu.

09:45 – A police spokesperson had told Minivan News that there has been no reports so far of conflicts with groups of protesters that are beginning to gather around Male’.

The spokesperson said that the police were hoping to use “minimum force” to keep the protests under control as the Majlis is set to reopen, but the situation would be reviewed as the day progresses.

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21 thoughts on “Majlis to reconvene amidst ongoing stand-off”

  1. MDP is showing to the world that they are more of a terrorist organisation and less of a political party.

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  2. The MDP Parliamentarians inside the parliament chamber are displaying a very uncultured behaviour.
    Disgusting!!!
    I will rather vote for people who resolve differences peacefully. This kind of aggravation is unacceptable.

    If there is anything the MDP does not want, or if anything happened the way MDP does not like, they have always reacted like this. It was this way when they were the ruling party, it is the same when they are the opposition.

    I respected Anni and applauded him when he won the 2008 elections but I have started hating him and MDP after seeing their thug-like behaviour.

    I have realised that I, for one, do not support the MDP style of expressing their political views. It is against what I believe. I can never be one of them. Its just not my way. Its against the principles and values I admire. I think the MDP-way is immoral and unethical.

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  3. What the hell is MDP doing?
    Setting government buildings ablaze again?
    Yesterday, mortocycles near one of the government buildings that belong to national security forces have been vandalised.
    Sun Online says a shop has been set on fire a few minutes ago.
    A police man sustained head injuries in trying to stop the MDP protesters from srossing the police line.
    Is this country, its security forces and its property owned by a few MDP thugs?
    Are the rest of us foreigners who do not belong here?
    Where are our rights?
    This country is not MDP's property.
    Maldives belong to all Maldivians.
    I condemnt these actions in the harshest manner and would like to see the perpetrators of such horrifying actions punished severely.
    MDP is disgusting!

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  4. Sun Online also says that explosions can be heard inside the shop set on fire. They also report that the fire appears uncontrolled and that there is a danger of spreading that fire to a petrol shed near by.

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  5. DH, what pray did the Queen do to deserve garroting?

    Apart from you the self appointed Grand Mullah, the esteemed Ayatollah (may the fleas of a thousand camels infest his beard), who else if any shall be spared?

    Please let me know the precise time the garroting takes place. I would like to volunteer to be garroted (on the spot), surely it would be a welcome relief from having to read any more of your comments.

    My last wish would be to know exactly what that "harlot" woman (may God bless the unlucky lady) did to you? Surely had to be something big for womenkind to deserve your eternal ire.

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  6. MDP = To come to power protest
    MDP = While in power protest
    MDP = when lost the power protest

    MDP does not operate like a political party but more like a militant group

    REMEMBER - MDP got only 25% of the vote in the 2008 election and they came to power with the help of a coalition, do not forget the facts - so why should there be an early election when only 25% of the population wants it and the balance 75% wants it in 2013.

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  7. Where is the Commonwealth today?
    Where are the human rights guys today?
    Where is the Police Integrity Commission today?

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  8. Although I vote Anni before I will never Vote him.. Now MDP has become Terrorist Organisation. More like a Mafia.

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  9. maldives belongs to Baagee Waheed, the financiers of the coup and the ppm

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  10. U guys still listening to sun.fm? wke up !

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  11. Dhivehi Hanguraama - i feel you are a bit out of order. We should leave Queen Elizabeth out of this. This is a domestic issue.

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  12. We want an early election. This is direct consequence of the POlice & MNDF not protecting a goverment elected by the Maldivians on 7th & 8th February..what else can u expect..WE WANT AN EARLY ELECTION..we now know who is power hungry & hanging on to power..Dr. Lambada Puppet Waheed & cronies!!
    JUST SET AN ELECTION DATE & PUT ALL MALDIVIANS OUT OF MISERY & UNSTABILITY!

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  13. Hey Orchid, u stole my name! i am Deen the Orchid aka Baagee Deen.
    Dont u understood that we have won? There will no more be elections in this country.
    Then lalala

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  14. When democratic forums for venting frustration and expressing social autonomy are repressed (space and freedom to protest, the holding of free and fair elections to elect a people's chosen leader) the institution used by the State to preserve its cultural hegemony, the religious institution, becomes the place where dissent is expressed. This is because the Mosques are the only place the people are able to gather and speak. Look at what happened when the USA overthrew a democratically elected Government in Iran, Khomeini arose.

    The combination of the repression of freedom, the creation of pain and hate, and the availability of religion as the only existing cultural forum to use as a vehicle to express anger is going to create a real attitude of terrorism.

    As a UN guy, Waheed should know this. I would beg him to do everything possible to make way for free and fair elections, to work hard at it.

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  15. That is to say, Waheed's Masters will end up creating a small terrorist cell, and a huge amount of Islamic extremism.

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  16. Kaminee gang is behind all the violence. It is in Gayoom, Yameen, Gassan DNA. Kaminee clan regard themselves as kings of Maldives and everyone should prostrate to them. They cannot understand or accept democracy. Yesterday, they freed a drug king pin and his gang who bring illicit profit to Yameen that is used to fuel the violence. Maldives will never enjoy peace and tranquility while they are in power. May Allah relieve us of this calamity.

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  17. @ Ben

    "That is to say, Waheed’s Masters will end up creating a small terrorist cell, and a huge amount of Islamic extremism."

    Don't get caught up in MDP propaganda.
    This country is not on a downhill course.

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  18. Do not dare censor my comments Minivann!

    I am a great scholar, and it is of National interest that my voice of reason be heard, lest our harlot women flaunt their lascivity and depravity without my toungue reducing them to virtue and obedience!

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  19. 786
    Peace!

    Violence breeds violence. So at the end of it all what do we have now? Violence is pointless.

    Now that alhamdulilahihi, parliament sessions has opened according to the constitution lets pray that the speaker and members meet and thrash out their differences within its legal framework and decide what the next step is.

    It’s in the country’s interest that the parties approach the next sessions with good faith to resolve the crisis. If there is a consensus to go for early elections, then get about bringing in the necessary constitutional amendments to facilitate this. If the consensus is to wait for the 2013 elections then without wasting time everyone concerned ought to get together to make the instruments that we already have work –

    Especially the judiciary and all the independent commissions that were put in place around 2007/2008 but hamstrung these last 3 years due to budgetary funds not released for their proper functioning. Give a chance to the Judiciary. Live the "rule of Law". If there still remains a grievance take it to the courts. Don't dwell on the past, be brave to face the future! THE WORLD IS WATCHING.

    Hurrah! To President Waheed for his measured performance today and for leaving the door open to early elections if the parliament so decides.

    Hurrah! To President Nasheed for having the sense to avoid inflaming the situation.

    Hurrah! To the Police and MNDF for their professionalism.

    Hurrah! To all those who avoided violence.

    Shame! On those slaves of Violence who tried all they could to wreck maximum havoc today. You caused untold suffering to those on both sides. You are truly sick! worst still devoid of compassion and humanity.

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  20. @DH
    National interest? The only interest that the nation has is only if you deflate that ego of yours first.

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