Male’s day of protests: Islam and women key themes

Hundreds of women marched across the Maldives’ capital Male’ in support of deposed President Mohamed Nasheed, before joining the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally near the tsunami monument in its call for early elections.

Meanwhile just several hundred metres up the road at the artificial beach, thousands more pro-government supporters showed up to demonstrate their support for President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik.

Artificial Beach and Tsunami monument – both key venues for political gatherings – are situated on Boduthakurufaanu Magu [eastern coast of Male’].

Both rallies began at 4:00pm on Male’s and proceeded peacefully with speeches from key members, while the MDP women’s march, “Women’s rally for justice” kicked off from the Social Centre of the other side of the city at 4.30pm.

Minivan News observed many people walking between both rallies and taking pictures, as the sounds of both crowds overlapped. Only a few policemen were seen maintaining the traffic and security.

Though specific numbers on each side were difficult to ascertain, at its beginning the pro-government crowd waving national flags and banners seemed larger with around 5000 supporters – while the MDP rally slowly grew and eventually dominated as more marchers in yellow joined the rally, raising the numbers to perhaps 8,000 at the peak of the demonstrations.

At the time of press, both rallies continued.

“Maldivian women will bring down Tyrant Waheed”

Women's ready for march at Social Center

Maldivian women of all ages, dressed mostly in yellow and waved yellow flags and banners bearing slogans including – “Where is my vote?”, “We demand Justice”, “Say no to Waheed”, “We demand a date for election” and “Let Democracy rule” – marched from main road, Majeedhee Magu and took couple of careful turns to reach the MDP rally without a confrontation with pro-government supporters near Artificial Beach.

In the front row, former MDP Chairperson Mariya Ahmed Didi, former Education Minister Shifa Mohamed and former Tourism Minister Mariyam Zulfa led the female Marchers that stretched nearly 20 meters.

Dozens of men also joined the march, while several others followed the march on motor bikes and cars, as eager onlookers watched and took pictures from the buildings.

Throughout the walk, the women chanted: “Tyrant Waheed, Resign” – a reference to the accusations that Waheed, then- Vice President was complicit in what MDP calls a bloodless coup to force his predecessor, Nasheed out of office.

Speaking to Minivan News, a 34 year old mother of three who came to Male’ from Addu to join the march said that “I did not vote for Waheed, I voted for Anni [Nasheed].”

“We, the women, will show Waheed that he can’t play with our country. Tyrant Waheed has no right to depose the president we voted for,” the woman added, holding a banner that said “We want an elected leader”.

As the female marchers arrived at the tsunami monument they were welcomed fervently by Nasheed and his supporters.

MDP rally near Tsunami monument

Addressing the crowd on the mounted podium, Mariya called out emphatically that “Maldivian women will bring down Tyrant Waheed”.

“The only woman who will stand with Waheed is Ilham [Waheed’s wife and first lady],” she further claimed.

Referring to the brutal crackdown of MDP’s peaceful March on February 8, where women and old were seen beaten by the police, Mariya warned : “Now come with your shields to beat us. But, remember, if you hit even one woman, that is represents a strike on all Maldivian women.”

Nasheed also made a brief speech in which he praised the strength of the women who joined the rally and called out, “Congratulations, Maldivian Women!”

Nasheed further stressed, “Maldivian people want an elected leader, people want early elections”.

Allah’s will”

Aerial shot of the pro government rally

At the protest at the artificial beach up the road, men and women were segregated and gathered to hear Dr Waheed give his first open air speech at a political demonstration as President.

Dr Waheed made an emphatic speech in which he claimed the “people inflicting chaos are real traitors and enemies of the nation”.

“We will not let anyone inflict unrest and violence. Anyone who loves this nation will not torch public property. We will defend this nation with the last drop of our blood. We are not scared to die for this cause,” Waheed said. “Be strong. We will not back down an inch.”

Reiterating that the change of power was not a coup, Waheed claimed, “Today this change has happened because it is the will of Allah to protect Islam and peace of this nation”.

He added that it was every government’s responsibility to provide education and housing for its people, and said he would fulfill those responsibilities.

Surprised observers noted that Dr Waheed, normally of a calm and softly spoken demeanor, spoke loudly and emphatically with a touch of anger.

Meanwhile,in an audio recording broadcast at the rally, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom pledged that the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) would cooperate with Waheed, and congratulated the MDP for joining the all party talks.

“The day the Maldives embraced Islam is the most important day in the history of our country. History proves the introduction of any other religion in this nation could endanger our sovereignty,” Gayoom added.

Further, several speakers from various religious and political parties in Dr Waheed’s national unity government exhibited their support for coalition government and refusal to hold early elections. The crowds waving national flags and banners bearing  slogans including “Maldivians in defense of Islam”, “Maldivians united against corruption”, “Support Dr Waheed for peace and Islam” and “No early elections” hailed “Long live Waheed”.

MDP women’s march:

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75 thoughts on “Male’s day of protests: Islam and women key themes”

  1. Whats happening in this country is never about Islam and Women. Its about two dictators (Gayoom and Nasheed) who has betrayed his own country and sold themselfs to his own elite friends around these two dictators! Both Nasheed and Gayoom wants to portray to Western world that in Maldives its about Islam, while its only about the greed to remain in power at any cost!! Maldives itself is MUCH bigger that Nasheed or Gayoom. Both of these people has distroyed this nation and continues to decay the society for their pitty desires!! Wake up Maldivians! Both of these people would murder, lie, ..do anything for the sake of power. Nasheed and Gayoom needs to step out of Politics and leave this nation some other non family members and live a respectful life in Maldives. I know they will not!! International community has to understand these two people are big liers!!

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  2. To see an academic of Waheed's calibre play the Islam card is just.. sickening.

    He had already lost my respect for being part of this disgusting power grab, but this takes it to a whole new low.

    Stop destroying this country. Let the people have a say. Call for elections!

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  3. The following link gives pictures of the pro-govrenment rally.
    What you have posted here, JJ, is misleading.

    http://www.haveeru.com.mv/dhivehi/pictures/3872

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  4. 3 pictures of MDP and also a video. but only one picture of Pro government protest. So as everyone knows that even before 2008 This newspaper was Pro Nasheed paper. So this is really ex president's propaganda newspaper...

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  5. @ yaamyn

    "To see an academic of Waheed’s calibre play the Islam card is just.. sickening."

    Stop lying.
    And stop misleading the international community.
    Waheed is NOT playing any religious card.
    Today's pro-government rally was not about religion.
    It was about upholding and respecting the Maldivian Constitution.
    Shame on you, yaamyn for spreading such lies.

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  6. Before everyone make headcount claims, pls remember its MDP supporters on one side and coalition of almost 5 parties and 50 ngos. Surely mdp turnout was more than all others combined. Something I noticed in mdp gathering was there were people of all walks of life against a noticeably common type on the other side. Thanks.

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  7. Check the banners u bahgrees have put up, one says to celebrate Islam in Maldives some others say to support waheed and some others on tv says to protect the constitution which the baaaghees burned down in brought day light. Rafiqul alam, r u mad. ??????

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  8. @ Rafiqul blah

    Dr waheed said the change of government is Allah's will/blessing.

    That is sufficient for the international community, which wants an enquiry into how the change was brought about, to know Dr Waheed is playing nothing but the religious card.

    You may not see it. But anyone with a brain does.

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  9. Waheed election is only solution.When you said we are terrorist you are not aware of the other side MDP supporter much bigger than your crowd.

    Now you have blammed us!!!!you are simply playing with our blood.If you want take you out by force we are capable of doing so.
    Resign now and leave the country!!!or you are making a biggest mistake in your life.You are a real idiot.

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  10. @Dhivesseh

    Let's c what card nasheed plays now.He will have to uphold the islamic card if he is to stand a chance of winning the MDP primary even...afterall todays's MDP women's walk showed all the women in MDP are balck buruqa clad islamists.

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  11. lol.what maldivian politician hasn't played the religion card? Anni did too.back when gayoom was in power all these self proclaimed anni with the sheiks that are opposing him now claimed that gayoom was against islam for locking up extremist preachers and not forcing his wife to wear a buruqaa.ur all a bunch of hypocrites.at least stop short of dragging the image of this country down as a country like taliban ruled afghanistan.

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  12. it's always been about women with balls and men with beards.

    it's about artificial beaches and real tsunamis.

    whether it is tsunami women or artificial beards....

    where are the "real" men?

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  13. "Reiterating that the change of power was not a coup, Waheed claimed, “Today this change has happened because it is the will of Allah to protect Islam and peace of this nation”.

    We've all heard that loud and clear. Your lies about holding enquiries etc are quite obvious to the whole world. It was obvious the minute you hand picked 3 select invididuals for your so-called "independent inquiry".

    Waheed is making a mockery of the entire international community. Mark my words, this guy will be worse than Gayyoom ever was. After all, he's shed more blood in less than a month of power than Gayyoom did in 30 years.

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  14. Dr Waheed said in the statement, “the religious and national duty of all citizens to strive to protect the peace and security of the country as well as work for the future.”

    Exactly why we should all rise to get rid of this traitor who toppled the democratically elected government of our country. There can be no future without a democratically elected government BY the people!

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  15. According to Miadhu newspaper, the size of MDP and Waheed supporters is 1000 and 20000 respectively.

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  16. though I might not have anything to say with or against any of this bullshit you speak of, I totally agree wiv James. You all are fools. You don't realise that you guys are being fooled so that they can come to power. You all "supporters" are just pawns for their power struggle. We're supposed to be MALDIVIANS! UNITED! cuz there should not be a single one of us who'd rather prefer the ruler of the country than the country itself. Cuz a country is NOT it's ruler, a country is its people. And if we don't learn how to settle down - nothing good will come and the country itself will cease to exist. YOU PEOPLE REALLY WANT THAT? Observe with your own eyes. 100% muslims, callin' each others non-muslims and calling them low and everythin else. DO YOU NOT REALIZE HOW HYPOCRITICAL YOU GUYS ARE? IN ISLAM, CALLIN YOUR BROTHER/SISTER A NON-MUSLIM IS SACRILEGE!! God you guys are so dense. The political stuff might make our views different but we're all human! So treat each other with respect, and learn to accept changes and if you want change, wait for the right moment! Protesting is an act of violence whether you call it peaceful or not! That is all I have to say!

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  17. This is all about Maumoon. Note he insinuates that Nasheed is trying to bring other religions. People have woken up to his tricks. Waheed is making a big mistake using Islam to get into power. The few so called 'educated' who support Waheed would not support this approach to politics. After all foreign aid and now tourism are very much linked to a world where people respect each other's religion. Waheed should respect Islam and stop abusing Allah.

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  18. It breaks my heart to see the Religion of Islam, a Majestic Wave of Mercy (Rahman) Peace and saftey for all oppressed(Salaam etymologically implies safety as well as peace) unity (Tawhid) justice for all (Adhaalath) being made to look so cheap and dirty. This is what happens when religion is used as a vehicle with which to express vengeance. This can only lead to more amorality and belittling of humanity. This can only lead to more pain. It is so sad for those who want freedom from fear for all, for most, it already seems it is too painful too actually CARE about another human being.

    Might as well blacken my own heart, live for power, just enjoy all the bliss of life's dirty pleasures by giving free reign to my own impusle for vengeance, and wear the religious mask to disguise my will to power as obedience to Allah's Will for Justice.

    Yet is this the way? Is it going to help me in the long run to deprive my soul of love, of true love, of struggle for humanity, the only qualities of character that are eternal in the sense that they are the only qualities which truly fulfill one's existential need for meaning and purpose?

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  19. "Let’s c what card nasheed plays now.He will have to uphold the islamic card if he is to stand a chance of winning the MDP primary even…"

    Go over the news item and you'll find that MDP has already taken a stand. They will uphold Islam; They support a Moderate Islam. ie; no amputation and stoning (rajam)etc. It is all the other parties' turn now to let people know their stand.

    We are waiting...

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  20. @Ben Plewright
    Your words on Islam are powerful and true in words.

    However, highlighting the issue of Islam here (to time with the opposition protest) fully exposes your naked political bias towards a particular political affiliation - the MDP. And there is nothing morally wrong in you being an ideological activist.

    HOWEVER, the sprit of your words (peace and rahmaan) totally contradicts with the political context of the comments.

    The hypocrisy of most Maldivains are plain and easy to find out. But your hypocrisy is well refined and sophisticated and most dangerous.

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  21. "suprised observers, normally waheed is calm, spoke loud with anger"

    yes, cuz now his heart is controlled by syaithan...!
    thats why he spoke with anger!!

    he knows well that he grabbed the power illegally!!

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  22. Waheed was sleeping peacefully one night. At midnight he was woken up with a high pitched ringing in his ear. Then the voices started. It was God talking to him.

    Waheed is the chosen one. He will lead us to heaven. Without Waheed we're doomed.

    There's no need to protest. No need to ask any questions. The man is holy. The government is holy. Everyone around him is holy too.

    It is God's will.

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  23. Hooray for the women.

    And I miss tsk tsk

    Haman: And you the messenger cause you know all to well... lmfao!

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  24. Dear Editor,
    Thank you very much for maintaining a liberal voice during these dark times in our country.
    The many writers of comments here claiming manliness and women claiming courage and candour in their comments always hide behind extraordinary pseudonyms. I just wonder how many of these people have enough cojones to come out with their own names and write their tirades.

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  25. To Nasheed and his supporters in MDP who have suddenly found peace and love a necessity,what state where you guys in when u were maligning your own people with insults ,filth and accusations non of which you could prove in 3 years of power?don't you understand the concept 'every man is innocent until proven guilty?'...and to talk about your 'moderate' islam, i just need to ask whther you have been living in the Maldives any time recently?for decades we have been a prime example of moderate islamic principles and we dont need MDP to implement what is already in existence.Rather if you r trying to preach liberalism i have some food for thought for you.
    All world religions or for that matter all people who beliv in an Alm8ty God have a code of moral principles for purification of the soul, that is the basis of religion -from the vedas, to budhism,code of Noah, to the Torah,the bible and the furqan.these morals are nothing but what is famously known as abstaining from the seven sins.Each of the religions and scriptures since the time of abel and gabel have been infiltarted by the schemes of the devil known as paganism or rather satansim.Today's modern pagan's known as Wiccans are the champions of liberalism for it is these people who worship the 'horned God' whose principle is "AN IT HARM NONE, DO WHAT YE WILL"..these people who indulge in the ritual practice of magic are clearly on the devils agenda to promote the seven sins in the name of freedom, terming it liberalism.True Christians world over are fighting the spread of this menace.However the muslims who have for the past few centuries been lost in a world of their own are infact falling into the trap of devil with thier lunatic fondness for the sin of Vanity!So before thinking yourselves very educated and know it alls,IF you beliv in God, think a little deeper than you are capable of now.If not for your sake but for the sake of your next generation.Rules in religion had to become more clealry defined for a reason but we humans out of never ending vanity and little knowledge we posses can only see the literal meaning of what is written and fight over it!

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  26. I miss tsk tsk too. I applaud him for going, he couldn't handle what he believed is biased propaganda. Suggestion for all news outlets all get together and count the crowds together, really not that hard to come up with an accurate count.

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  27. Let the Maldivians decide what they want through a ballot! It is clear a large number wants it! I am for early elections!

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  28. "We will not let anyone inflict unrest and violence. Anyone who loves this nation will not torch public property. We will defend this nation with the last drop of our blood". Dr Waheed.

    I want to know WHO you were referring to in your speech, Dr Waheed.

    Were you referring to .....

    the police who trashed MDP Haruge BEFORE President was forced to resign?

    OR

    the Police who brutalised MDP supporters who gathered at Republic Square BEFORE President Nasheed was forced to resign

    OR

    the Police who terrorised and brutalised our people AFTER President Nasheed resigned

    OR

    the people who rioted AFTER they heard and saw the police beating people up, marking MDP politicians with special ferocity, as they went about inflicting violence on our people?

    From what I have seen and have heard and experienced the last three years, the real terrorists are the police who did not honour their oath to keep law and order in our country, and protect our people, the members of the army who committed treason and the people and forced our elected President to resign, and the men and women who have blocked justice for our people for three decades by blocking cases, throwing cases out of court, releasing criminals and corrupt officials, drug dealers, rapists, and blocking legislation to reform the Penal Code.

    I lost all respect for Dr Waheed when I heard him say this. If Umar Naseer said this I would have laughed. But this man is not Umar Naseer. He is the first Maldivian to have received a Ph.D !!!. The UN technocrat, the UN bureaucrat, the former running mate of President Nasheed.
    The people who rioted in the islands reacted to the violence the police in his "new" government inflicted on the people of Male' when they went on a peaceful demonstration. And yet to date we have heard NO apology from Dr Waheed except to say there will be an inquiry... there will be an inquiry... there will be an inquiry... and so on and so on.

    I am so disappointed in you, Dr Waheed.
    Is this the best you can do?

    May Allah have mercy on you for your lies, your greed for power and for your association with the dark powers of Gayoom and co that destroyed the fabric of Islam in our country in the 30 years they ruled our nation.

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  29. Dear friends
    I saw on VTV, Sheikh Ilyaas made an abnormal speech, which is fully to the interest of Burumaa Qasim and another thing which caught my eyes is the VTV camera searched the crowd and focussed on Buruma while they were performing 'Maghrib' prayer on the artificial beach..Do you think the speech itself is paid too by The mahjong? Champaa and Burumaa TV's spread misleading news in our nation.....

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  30. Dr Waheed, you cannot understand the pain of our people or the rage of our youth for having been deprived of a decent education, decent housing and a dignifies life.

    You were not here. Dr Waheed. You were busy with your career, educating your children.

    When the hard work was done you come to the Maldives, form a party which did not win a single seat in parliament or council , take the baton handed over by the army and take the oath of President and stand in front of a podium and call us terrorists?

    Is this man for real?

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  31. @Mustho: "MDP and Waheed supporters is 1000 and 20000 respectively." reallly.. i am shocked. Dont you have any other source to check this. I dont think you checcked any picks or vedios.. of you cheked i amd sure you will not post anything like this, even if your are so in love with ihthihaadhu ppl.

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  32. Buruma........you have no right to use Islam as your personnel weapon to achieve your little mischevious political ambitions.... No one in the Maldives sees you sell zam zam in your resorts..... You are so funny Mr.Buruma

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  33. @Ali Manikufaanu

    We will start writing in our own names when the Maldives is free from the Mafia vermin who control the gangs in Male'and who are killing the people who oppose their Masters, and when we feel we can speak about Islam without fearing for our lives from the Islamic right.

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  34. Wud pay money or wear a yellow shirt to see one of those big tsunami balls break loose n thump sum loudmouth politician on the head, ...u know, for inspirational purposes hehe ( don't worry mr superstar politician, I'd look just as crazed as u r)

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  35. "We will not let anyone inflict unrest and violence. Anyone who loves this nation will not torch public property. We will defend this nation with the last drop of our blood". Dr Waheed.

    I want to know WHO you were referring to in your speech, Dr Waheed.

    Were you referring to .....

    the police who trashed MDP Haruge BEFORE President was forced to resign?

    OR

    the Police who brutalised MDP supporters who gathered at Republic Square BEFORE President Nasheed was forced to resign

    OR

    the Police who terrorised and brutalised our people AFTER President Nasheed resigned

    OR

    the people who rioted AFTER they heard and saw the police beating people up, marking MDP politicians with special ferocity, as they went about inflicting violence on our people?

    From what I have seen and have heard and experienced the last three years, the real terrorists are the police who did not honour their oath to keep law and order in our country, and protect our people, the members of the army who committed treason and betrayed the people and forced our elected President to resign, and the men and women who have blocked justice for our people for three decades by blocking cases, throwing cases out of court, releasing criminals and corrupt officials, drug dealers, rapists, and blocking legislation to reform the Penal Code.

    I lost all respect for Dr Waheed when I heard him say this. If Umar Naseer said this I would have laughed. But this man is not Umar Naseer. This is the first Maldivian to have received a PhD!!!. The UN technocrat, the UN bureaucrat, the former running mate of President Nasheed.
    The people who rioted in the islands reacted to the violence the police in his "new" government inflicted on the people of Male' when they went on a peaceful demonstration. And yet to date we have heard NO apology from Dr Waheed except to say there will be an inquiry... there will be an inquiry... there will be an inquiry... and so on and so on.

    I am so disappointed in you, Dr Waheed.
    Is this the best you can do?

    May Allah have mercy on you for your lies, your greed for power and for your association with the dark powers of Gayoom and co that destroyed the fabric of Islam in our country in the 30 years they ruled our nation.

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  36. @Fikry,
    as an old, old man (I'm over 70) your lament gives me courage and hope that one day in the future my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have chance not to be judged by the kind of clothes they wear or the kind of Islam they practice but by "the content of their character."

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  37. MALDIVESHAS BECOME A POLICE AND ARMY STATE. LET THE PEOPLE BE FREE; AND THE ONLY WAY TO DO THAT IS TO HOLD A FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS. BUT, THE DOUBT REMAIN. IS WAHEED & CO CAPABLE OF HOLDING SUCH? MY GUESS IS THAT WAHEED THE CONSPIRATOR WILL TRY TO HOLD ONTO POWER AS LONG AS HE CAN. MILITARY RULE IS ON THE WAY; MALDIVIANS! BRACE YOURSELVES. ONCE THE DEMOCRACY IS GONE; ITS HARD TO RELEASE IT FROM THESE TERROR MOUNTERS; USING "RELION" AS A THEME TO PROMOTE HATRED. THE ACTUAL REASON IS THEIR GREED FOR POWER AND POSITION; THE GREED TO OVERFLOW THEIR EMTYING POCKETS. GAYOUM/WAHEED & cO WILL NOT REST IN PEACE EVER AGAIN. THEY WILL NEVER AGAIN EXPERIENCE A SINGLE PEACEFUL NIGHT'S SLEEP. THEY HAVE SINNED! WHAT THEY DESERVE IS LIFE -IN -JAIL / TAKE AND FREEZE THEIR ASSETS.ESPECTIALLY THE ONES IN THE U.S.A AND THE UK.INVESTIGATE THE MONEY LAUNDERINGS ABROAD/ THE MONEY BELONGING TO THE MALDIVIAN PEOPLE. THERE IS A VEIL OVER IT NOW. LIFT THE VEIL AND EXPOSE THESE CORRUPTIONS.

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  38. tsk tsk is your beloved youth minister. Youth minister. hahahahaa hahaaa hahaaaa ahahha

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  39. Its very sad that lots of our national asset have been damaged.

    Question is Our Great Leader Judas Waheed failed to mention the amount of life long damage that was done to our living, breathing, bleeding humans beings, for him cement and mental are more precious.

    Every now and than someone comes out says 214 Million worth of damage has being done to property, do you filth think only property, how about the damage done to our beloved brothers and sisters in his first twenty four hours at office.

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  40. Our Supreme leader Formaru President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom calls MDP to join the Unity Government of Judas Waheed. Please prostrate and obey.

    If not I really don't know what calamity will hit us.

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