Six Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters arrested for allegedly throwing stones at the motorcade of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom’s motorcade while he was visiting Addu City have declared themselves on hunger strike as of yesterday afternoon.
In a statement, the MDP said that the six supporters, which include elected Addu City Councilor Ahmed Mirzadh, as well as his father and brother, began the strike yesterday at 4:00pm after being detained on suspicion of throwing stones at the former president and present head of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).
An MDP statement claimed that the detained supporters had launched the hunger strike in protest at allegations of police torture whilst in custody.
Abdulla Haseen, Lawyer of Councilor Mirzad said his client was detained for allegedly throwing stones at former President Gayoom’s motorcade, adding that he was very worried about the arrest.
‘’He’s an elected councilor. He is not a violent criminal. He’s a very responsible man,” Haseen said adding that the court has granted an extension of his detention period to ten days.
Police have meanwhile confirmed that the detained MDP supporters were on a hunger strike.
Police Sub-Inspector Hasssan Haneef has said that although the detainees have declared themselves on hunger strike, authorities had been providing them food as scheduled.
Meanwhle, Addu City Council has issued a statement calling for the immediate release of the arrested councillor.
The statement alleged that the motive behind the arrest was to “narrow” the powers of the Addu City Council, which also condemned the brutality of the “coup government” of President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan.
Since February’s transfer of power, the MDP and former President Mohamed Nasheed have continued to allege that the previous government was removed from office in a “coup” by mutinous elements of the police and military, along with then opposition politicians.
The council also claimed that the current government was envious of Addu City Council, alleging that all the development projects launched by Mohamed Nasheed’s government have been stopped under the present administration.
Yesterday, Police Superintendent Abdulla Nawaz said that a total of 181 persons have been arrested so far in ongoing protests during the last week. A total of 21 persons are still said to be in police custody after being detained during the protests, which have at times escalated into violent confrontations.
Nawaz alleged that MDP supporters have been conducting criminal activities in the protests, including attacking police officers and vandalizing the property of civilians.
He alleged that protesters have been attacking police officers and using foul language against riot police. Nawaz conversely denied that police have attacked or used foul language against anti-government protesters during more than seven days of consecutive demonstrations.