The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has threatened direct action after accusing the government of attempting to obstruct the party’s demonstrations.
“MDP strongly condemns the incumbent government’s actions in using the police to obstruct this party’s demonstration, which had the participation of a large number of MDP members,” read a party press release.
The announcement followed the MDP’s return to the streets this week, launching its first protests since the controversial delays to the 2013 presidential election.
Numerous speakers at yesterday’s march in the capital called for President Abdulla Yameen’s resignation,
“You have turned this island, this country, into a dwelling of violence and fear. You cannot continue to do this. You must resign,” Haveeru reported former Majlis Speaker Abdulla Shahid as saying.
Meanwhile, MDP Vice President Mohamed ‘Shippe’ Shifaz pledged that the party would continue to demonstrate until peace is restored to the country, or the president steps down.
President Yameen has characterised his first year in office as having brought “peace and order” to the Maldives, a claim refuted by the opposition who point to frequent knife attacks, the intimidation of journalists and politicians, and repeated instances of Maldivians travelling abroad for Jihad.
Yameen has pledged to remove violent crime from the streets, committing his government to implementing the death penalty in order to do so.
Former President Mohamed Nasheed told supporters earlier this week that his party had been forced back to the streets by the government’s poor performance, notably its carelessness and arrogance” in response to the disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan.
MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed claimed that the police had written to the party stating that rallies would be stopped if they became unruly. Waheed told supporters that the party would not be intimidated.
Police Spokesperson Supreintendent Ahmed Shifan today denied the demonstration had been obstructed, saying there were no significant incidents and no complaints had been made.
MDP Spokesman Imthiyaz Fahmy suggested that police obstructed demonstrators during yesterday’s planned march.
“The obstruction is against the freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and freedom to hold peaceful political activity guaranteed in the constitution,” said the MDP press release.
Related to this story