Maldives police, thugs clash with pro-democracy protesters

Riot police, protesters and thugs brutally clashed during demonstrations last night, after President Mohamed Waheed declared he would stay in power beyond the conclusion of his presidential term.

Waheed’s decision half an hour before the expiry of his term prompted people to take to the streets in Male’.

While the majority of protesters were Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters, other political parties were also demonstrating to demand the constitution be upheld and Shahid be sworn in as president, a protest participant told Minivan News.

The Supreme Court on November 9 upheld its earlier ruling from October 7 stating that Waheed could remain in power past the conclusion of his term on November 11, dismissing a parliament resolution passed last week demanding the installment of the speaker after the expiry of the term.

Waheed, who received just 5.13 percent in the annulled first round vote on September 7, had previously declared that he had no intention of remaining in power “even a day after November 11”.

Prior to Waheed’s announcement, Minivan News observed large numbers of riot police assembling in Republic Square. Following Waheed’s declaration to remain in power protests immediately erupted in Male’.

About 100 protesters on foot and motorcycles had gathered in front of police barricades near Majeedia School on Sosun Magu by 11:45pm (November 10), continuously blasting vehicle horns and shouting at the Maldives Police Service (MPS), calling for Shahid to assume the presidency.

After the protesters moved the police barricades and began walking toward the People’s Majlis (Parliament), Special Operations (SO) police responded forcibly, hauling individuals from the crowd into custody, while aggressively forcing protesters back toward Sosun Magu.

Minivan News witnessed SO police pushing two young Maldivian women as well as a female Chinese photographer to clear the intersection.

Meanwhile a group of at least six police officers surrounded a male protester who was retreating back toward Sosun Magu, brutally beat him with their batons and pepper-sprayed his face at point blank range, before taking the man into custody. Another male protester on a motorcycle – who was in the process of turning to head back toward Sosun Magu – was hauled off his bike and beaten by multiple police officers.

Multiple protesters warned Minivan News to be cautious of “drunken thugs” dispersed among the crowd in a bid to incite violence.

A number of protesters alleged that the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) had hired gang members to act aggressive and violent, to prompt police to crackdown on the demonstrators.

“Everyone says this will continue until [former 30-year autocratic ruler] Maumoon Gayoom dies. He has too much money, power and influence. He does not want to let go,” 28 year-old Ahmed lamented. “And his corrupted family web have tentacles in everything.”

“The mafia keeps holding on to power. Today is a black day because we are going to crush down our own constitution,” said 27 year-old Saeed.

Shortly after being forced from the intersection, demonstrators surrounded and temporarily hijacked two city buses, pushed them toward the intersection and attempted to tip them over. Large stones were then hurled toward the riot police before they charged the crowd and arrested more people.

By approximately 2:00am the crowd had swelled to around 1000, who were primarily gathered near the intersection as well as scattered down the length of Sosun Magu.

Over 250 SO riot police were present and made multiple incursions into the crowd, charging demonstrators before dragging them away into custody. Some protesters near the police line were throwing stones, making a blockade with bicycles, and removing police barricades. However the vast majority were demonstrating peacefully, with a few sitting down in front of the barricades.

During one particularly violent ‘snatch and grab’ operation around 2:30am, Minivan News heard a small explosion before riot police stormed into the demonstration.

SO officers proceeded to rip the clothes off of a middle-aged man while arresting him. The protester had to hold his ‘mundu’ (traditional sarong) with one hand while being led away to prevent being undressed..

Minivan News also witnessed police hitting and trying to drag into custody a former Province Minister who was peaceably protesting; ultimately he was not arrested.

A group of riot police then began shoving photographers and journalists down the sidewalk, in addition to forcing protesters further south down Sosun Magu. The police line moved aggressively and a group of about 20 people were forced to seek refuge in an alley to prevent being trampled or injured.

Minivan News was repeatedly told by the Maldives Police Service (MPS) to stay behind police lines or be treated as a protester and risk injury. A photographer for local media outlet Haveeru sustained a head injury while reporting on the demonstration.

Additionally local media outlet Raajje TV claimed to have witnessed police leading away man by the groin.

“They are arresting him so they can go rape him,” two female protesters shouted at the SO as the man was being led away.

Police also grabbed a female protester’s buttocks and were beating old ladies on the side of the road, a protester alleged to Minivan News.

As the police crackdown grew more violent, the protesters’ response escalated, with more individuals throwing stones, while a few set fire to a barricade.

The demonstrators began chanting “money money SO”, and yelling insults at the riot police.

“What is the point in peacefully protesting? That’s what we’ve been doing since the February [2012] coup and nothing has changed,” said a 26 year-old protester.

“Every time [we protest] it’s like a flash of light which enlightens the whole country and then the light goes off for another week or more. It’s been like that since last February. People are feeling hopeless,” he continued.

“We just have a new dictator baghee [‘traitor’] Waheed; he’s Maumoon’s puppet,” he added.

Meanwhile a young boy, who appeared to be about eight years-old, showed Minivan News two stones that he indicated he was going to throw at the riot police. Shortly after, Minivan News learned the boy had been punched in the face and his bloody nose was being tended to by a half-dozen female protesters.

“This is nothing new. The security services have been acting this violent since Maumoon’s time. At least now you can talk about him without being jailed and tortured,” a former political prisoner and torture victim told Minivan News on condition of anonymity.

By 3:30am the crowd had thinned to around 200 protesters, at which point Minivan News witnessed a group of around six men that appeared to be in their 20’s arrived on motorcycles. The group proceeded to surround an MDP protester, forced him against the wall of a building, violently beat and attempted to stab the man with a large kitchen knife.

Police did not respond to the situation for several minutes – despite observing the attack – and eventually proceeded to take the victim into custody.

“Earlier the victim had been throwing stones at police,” an eyewitness told Minivan News. “I saw a police officer pick up the knife [after the attack], but they did not go after the thugs.”

“These gangsters were probably told who to target by the SO,” he alleged.

It is unclear whether the suspected attacker was taken into police custody or led away and then released, as there were conflicting eyewitness accounts.

SO police then proceeded to form a line and forced the remaining protesters and journalists to clear the area.

“There’s no law here according to the Supreme Court, President and police,” said a 27 year-old protester. “It’s a mafia state run by Maumoon and [PPM Presidential Candidate Abdulla] Yameen.”

Minivan News witnessed police arrest more than 25 individuals throughout the course of the protest.

As of 5:00am, one individual had been admitted for a minor head injury sustained in a fight, an Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) official told Minivan News.

While ADK Hospital told Minivan News that one person was in the emergency room, but could not specify the type of injury.

Police report

Minivan News called Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef today (November 11), who requested he be contacted via the police media line instead of his personal number.

Upon doing so, the officer who answered stated the call had been misdirected to the wrong line and requested Minivan News redial the police media line. After repeatedly redialing the police media line there was no response.

The MPS ran a live blog throughout last night’s protest that stated 24 individuals had been arrested.

23:58: A protester has thrown a stone at and injured a police officer.
00:38: A protester threw a rock that hit and injured a journalist. We have received information that he is being treated at ADK hospital.
00:49: Protesters on Sosun Magu are from time to time throwing rocks at police.
00:49: Police have detained an individual for breaking through police barricades.
00:58: Police have detained 6 individuals, including a woman, for breaking through police barricades.
01:05: Some individuals among the protesters on Sosun Magu have vandalized the traffic lights at Sosun Magu/Majeedhiyya School junction.
01:55: A device that appears to be a molotov cocktail exploded in front of the Naadhee Building on Sosun Magu.
01:59: Police have arrested 6 people for obstructing police duty.
02:05: Police have arrested four individuals for crossing police barricades and obstructing police duty.
02:08: Individuals among the protesters on Sosun Magu have kicked down some bicycles on Sosun Magu.
02:18: Police barricades have been torched.
02:19: We have received reports that protesters are from time to time throw rocks and bottles at the media personnel.
02:20: Police have doused the torched police barricades.
02:24: Police are trying to set back the protesters at Roashanee Building on Sosun Magu.
03:21: Police have detained three women who broke through police barricades.
03:31: Police have started to push back the protesters in front of Majeedhiyya School on Sosun Magu.
03:38: Police have arrested four individuals for disobedience to order as they push back protesters.
04:00: Protesters have voluntarily left the area.


18 thoughts on “Maldives police, thugs clash with pro-democracy protesters”

  1. Just delete the comma from the title and you will be doing a better job of reporting on the situation in the Maldives!

  2. Martial law and curfews are imminent.

    The Speaker of the Parliament needs to be more forceful and get himself sworn in. If he fails and gets arrested then everything is out in the open.

  3. The old brutal dictatorship and their organised gang of thugs are nearly back in power after the endless moving of the goal posts of the election. Democracy is nearly dead now. Where is the international community????

  4. @Angagatha Mithuru
    Not gaving a comma would be too risky. But, they could have put in the word AND but they didnt. So they did the next best thing. Everyone knows what they mean.

  5. The Speaker Of parliament needs to ignore the SC to get sworn in NOW by whatever means. Then the violence will stop.

    If the constitution says the speaker then the speaker it is.

    For Gods sake why doesn't anyone down there have any courage of their convictions?

    Don't protest, just follow the constitution.

  6. The SC is out of its remit. Ignore them, they even do not have the courage to sign their own court orders now. They are just one step from fleeing to the atolls or Singapore themselves



  7. Someone is saying "where is the international community?" The International Community is saying "Where is your constitution?"

    If the constitution is comprehensively compromised then the IC can maybe take action. But it isn't. Its mired in Pseudo-legal s**t that nobody can seem to see through. Which is stronger? The Supreme Court or the constitution?
    If you people down there are too confused to know the answer, do not expect the International Community to know either.

    First of all Parliament made the big mistake on VOTING in a resolution that what was NOT needed. It was written into the constitution that the Speaker takes control. That made it easy for the SC to over-rule that resolution. You should have kept quiet and just did it.

    The Vice President resigned and appeared to make it easy for the Speaker to assume the Presidency.

    The Speaker has written a couple of letters and just sat on his hands instead of doing his constitutional duty and declaring himself temporary president until the President Elect is determined.

    The root cause of the trouble in the Maldives is FEAR and COWARDICE on all sides.

    Gayoom and his cronies are fearful of the results of a fair election and too cowardly to face those consequences.

    The proponents of Democracy are also afraid and cowards, unwilling to uphold their own constitution. This includes the Army, Police and the Speaker himself.

    My message to all these so-called officials is this: Do not leave it up to the man and woman in the street to get gassed, beaten up and arrested trying to do the job that YOU could do a lot easier.

    Either step up to the plate Mr. Speaker or join the other cowards and RESIGN!

  8. Maumoon planned this all along. 7/2 coup he was in Malaysia and this one he was in Singapore. The man knows how to manipulate these idiots so well. Waheed is under his spell

  9. Hello Maldivian Friends...You were boasting that you guys are capable of handling yourself...Just because you got educated yourself in UK and Malaysia..What has happened in last 9 or 10 years show that you people cannot even run a "Paid Toilet" Efficiently...Jokers

  10. If has done the following system Now a day no clauses fight in maldives..

    First every political party should be understand don’t waste the public money. See unnessory re-run election people lose minimum Mvr 30 million political person no one to feel the Govt money wastage. Why means this is public money.
    Please EC/Government/supreme court if anyone can be did the following Public money have been saved 30 million.
    Following suggestion given to Maldives Govt
    1.First arrange 3 ballot boxes (A,B & C) and Put serial Number with location. (475 area x each 3 Box).
    2. Need totally 3 slips first slip 3 president candidate name / second slip first ranker and second ranker / third slip first ranker and third ranker candidate.
    3.So voter to be marking vote first slip choose any one candidate. Next go to second slip available two candidate name only than select one person. Next go to third slip see already selected second choice so go to third slip select one candidate put in third box.
    4.After counting of first round A Box, the man who came ranking first and second that box only go to counting and then will be decide second round winner.
    5.Within one day we have to select the new president, and save the money Mvr 30 million.
    So please think the above point is reasonable give your comment like who will dislike this idea please mention dislike I will explain to you. and mention your dislike reason also.

  11. Who allows their 8 year child out on the streets after midnight, especially during violent protests?

    And who punches and 8 year old child?

    Maybe Minivan could investigate and publish the names of his parents and the police thugs around when this incident tooks place.

    Expecting justice for this kid would be expecting too much right now. But shaming the adults responsible for him could be a start.

  12. @Private Tourist on Mon, 11th Nov 2013 7:36 PM

    "First of all Parliament made the big mistake on VOTING in a resolution that what was NOT needed"

    (1) I agree with this. On hind sight, it was just handing over the ammunition to the chimps in the Supreme Court and others.

    (2) One of those who can swear in the Speaker is the Chief Justice. I'm sure he's under threats to his life (and family) if he does anything like that as implied by recent social media leaks.

    (3) Gasim made a very smart move by not backing either candidate. That was the most sensible option for him. Let the people decide. They know full well what Yameen stands for as well as Nasheed and his party. PPM's sole aim is to keep Gayyoom's legacy alive. MDP wants to bring the Maldives kicking and screaming into the 21st century and become a progressive member of the family of nations. The people have the power to decide their fate and Gasim is quite right to point that out.

    (4) I don't believe there can be a legitimate election when Waheed is illegally kept in power with scant regard to the Constitution. No, I don't believe in the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. The Maldives Supreme Court is the butt of jokes of comedians all over the world!

  13. ironically a foreign tourist is the one person who grasps the situation as it is.

    Sad but true Private tourist

  14. @Ahmed Bin Addu Bin Suvadheeb
    Thank you my friend... We here in Scandinavia do not see the local media in Maldives regarding death threats to officials. We read Minivan news and other Maldivian sources and pick the bones.
    In which case pardon my ignorance and harshness.

    I think however I share your previosly posted guarded optimism that the time of the baghees is coming to a close. The Maldives is now well and truly on the International radar so much so, one can only guess what Gayoom can possibly gain from continuing in this action. Lack of true democracy in the Maldives will lead to its economic destruction and therefore the loss of what Gayoom craves most.

    So, are we seeing posturing and delaying actions that suggest an exit stategy? The final movement of ill gotten gains to foreign accounts? The slow but sure but nevertheless duly noted resignations of certain key people? The secret exodus of key official criminals holding office?
    That Gayoom is in Singapore and Waheed safely mothballed in security on an atoll and not in his presidential office?

    The guess among Europeans here is that if the Maldives begins to deteriorate economically in a rapid fashion due to tourism sanctions or even more so the lack of fuel, the Army will step in and replace the Judiciary with a military panel. This panel will replace the president and they will placate the International community with a 'time-table for democracy.

    Just what happened in Egypt.

  15. @Ahmed Bin Addu Bin Suvadeeb. Good one. Spot on:) Especially point 4) At least that's the one plus in this sad black comedy.. the priceless material from the not so Supreme nightClub.

    But the sad thing is that these loonies do not represent all of us. We cannot give in to the bullies, but as @ Private Tourist rightly says, its up to the officials such as the Speaker etc to show leadership, not leave it to the desperate men and women in the streets. Its time for them to sacrifice themselves if necessary for something bigger than themselves - and this time call the bullies' bluff - just as they called ours on Feb 2012.

    They couldn't believe what they got away with then, you could see the incredulity in their faces.Then they got cocky and they have now handed us a priceless opportunity to get our country back by behaving incredibly obviously and stupidly. We have far more power than we realize - its staring us in the face.

    But that power must be harnessed by our leaders, otherwise it gets diluted. Firm decisive leadership is needed. NOW. And lets not wait for the international community to flaff about. They always come too late and never quite clear up the mess. That much we must know by now, along with the fact that this is a mafia and mafias don't do democracy, ever.

    If we don't want an even less attractive and far less capable individual than Berlusconi to rule over us, we had better get moving quick - or send in the clowns?

  16. I have said many times, on this and other sites, Gayoom and family ran the Maldives as a private business,for 30 or more years..He [they]will not give up control[ie election disgrace] without a fight..Somehow you Maldivian people will have to have a 'clear-out' and a fresh start,without those judges/politicians that are so obviously corrupt..My best wishes go to you honest Maldivians in this fight for democracy..

  17. @ Larry
    I fully agree!
    This "clearing-out/fresh start" is missing since 2008 and the "bad guys" had time enough to build up again until the 2012 coup d'état.
    Some people just do belong sentenced and put into jail by an unbiased and educated judiciary.
    Good luck Maldives!

  18. Spot on @ Larry.
    At the moment the choice of the people is unfortunately very restricted.
    On the one hand a dictator who still has the institutions under his control and who through his puppets encroaches on everybody's rights and on the other hand a freedom fighter who wants to bring changes but due to his indiscipline (lifestyle) he does not get the full support of many honest and hardworking people.
    The young rebellious generation is supportive of the latter for obvious reasons, those getting advantages from the current autocratic regime still support the old master but those seeking a free, fair and peaceful society don't know what to do!!!
    I sincerely hope some new breed of politicians will come up in the near future and work towards improving the standard of living of the people by promoting good human values and enhancing transport, housing, healthcare, education, law and order,...


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