As violent confrontations between police and anti-government protesters rock the capital of Male’, the Majlis continued was locked in a stalemate as President Waheed was forced to give his opening speech amidst loud heckling from MDP MPs.
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16:31 – Tension is once again on the rise as large numbers of police have begun to clear out the surf point area of the capital that has been home to an MDP protest camp since the controversial resignation of former President Mohamed Nasheed last month.
16:14 – Police with riot shields have now asked asked a large group of people gathered towards the Tsunami Memorial to disperse.
15:35 – A police spokesperson had told Minivan News that the violent confrontations with protesters now appeared to have been bought under control, although a few people are still thought to be waiting in Sosun Magu.
15:20 – President Waheed and his spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza were unavailable to elaborate on the comments made during today’s speech when contacted by Minivan News.
15:00 – The President’s Office has issued a statement quoting Dr Mohamed Waheed in pledging to commit to an early election if it was “required”.
Reiterating points raised in his inaugural address to a boisterous Majlis floor that saw the president having to shout over loud heckles from MDP members just a few hours ago, Waheed pledged to bring together all political leaders to discuss constitutional amendments required for fresh elections.
“This is the time for all of us to work together in one spirit, the time to bring political differences to the discussion table in order to formulate solutions,” said the president. “I fully assure you that I will not order anyone to act against the Constitution or laws of this country”.
14:45 – Some protesters are reportedly making their way to the justice rally by the Tsunami memorial.
14:40 – The MDP has issued a statement condemning the acts of violence that took place across Male’ today, alleging that a blaze in the Neelan Fihaara “may have deliberately started” by figures loyal to the government as a means to crack down on peaceful demonstrators.
“The MDP condemns the Waheed regime’s attempts to associate the MDP with acts of violence, even before conducting an independent investigation,” the statement read. “Thousands of pro-democracy supporters poured onto the streets this morning to peacefully protest Dr Waheed’s attempt to address the People’s Majlis.”
14:10 – The official police website has reported that eight police personnel have suffered injuries during today’s protests, while 41 people are reported to have been arrested.
14:06 – Dr Waheed has returned to the chamber and finished giving his address amidst loud heckling from MDP Supporters in the Majlis chamber.
13:57 – The Police Integrity Commission has released a statement denouncing what it sees as violent acts committed against security forces by protestors.
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.
12:08 – Military vehicle arrives to support police – meets hail of projectiles. Windshield is damaged.
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.