‘National Movement’ exercising freedom of assembly with artifical beach gatherings

The self-titled ‘National Movement’, comprising several NGOs and the religious conservative Adhalaath Party, has said it is exercising constitutional rights by holding gatherings at the artificial beach area in Male’, despite claims it has not been granted permission to do so.

State Finance Minister Abbas Adil Riza, a member of the National Movement’s Steering Committee, said the group’s followers had the right to freedom of assembly to express dissatisfaction with parliament.  He also today (April 11) claimed the movement’s supporters may “storm” the People’s Majlis to protect the national constitution.

The National Movement has held a series of gatherings in recent weeks that its supporters have said are targeted solely at parliamentarians and their conduct in the country. The group previously accused MPs of violating the constitution late last year and said they would consider a plan to “break up” parliament if its members’ constitutional concerns were not addressed.

Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muiz today turned to social media site Twitter to claim in Dhevehi that the ‘National Movement’ had not obtained permission to hold its gatherings in the artificial beach area beyond April 8 this year.

Dr Muiz was not responding to calls at time of press.

Meanwhile, Male’ City Council (MCC), which claims to be responsible for providing the artificial beach area to political parties, said it had filed separate cases with the Maldives Police Service and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) over continued use of the land by a group proclaiming themselves as the ‘National Movement’.

Permission obtained, “Most probably”

Abbas Adil Riza told Minivan News today that one of the NGOs making up the National Movement had “most probably” obtained permission to use the land.

“We are of the opinion that the constitution allows every citizen the right of peaceful assembly,” he said.

Abbas claimed that the artificial beach area was a part of the capital where the public were free to gather, adding that he did not believe use of the space would be an issue if no other parties or groups had reserved the area at the same time.

According to Abbas, if the artificial beach area could not be made available for the ‘National Movement’, then MCC Councillors were required to provide land in the capital where they could continue to host gatherings.

He alleged that the MCC had tried to block National Movement supporters from holding their meetings at the artificial beach.

“Singular objective”

Regarding the ongoing series of gatherings, Abbas said the ‘National Movement’ was focused on the “singular objective” of not allowing parliament to damage the functioning of the Maldives constitution.

“We have given them the same warning that we gave to [former President Mohamed] Nasheed,” he said. “We will try to storm the Majlis if we have to protect the constitution.”

In December 2011, former opposition parties – now members of President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s unity government – and a number of NGOs included in the ‘National Movement’ gathered in Male’ with thousands of people to “defend Islam”.  Organisers said the rally was a response to what they alleged were the irreligious practices of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s government.

Nasheed’s government was controversially removed from office two months later following a mutiny by sections of the police and military.

Many of the parties in attendance at the “defend Islam” rally have taken cabinet posts in the new government.


Responding to Abbas’ claims today, MCC Councillor Mohamed Abdul Kareem claimed that the municipal council presently held the responsibility to provide permits for the use of the artificial beach area for events and gatherings.

He said that with work now being undertaken to ensure the area is ready for use around the time of presidential elections scheduled for September this year, the MCC had requested the land not be used at present by any political organisation or group.

Kareem went on to accuse the ‘National Movement’ of not being a registered organisation, but just a name used by Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdullah for his own political ends.

He went on to allege that as a result of Sheikh Imran’s involvement with the movement, Housing Minister Muiz, who is also Secretary General of the Adhaalath Party, had previously provided permits for a limited period of time to use the artificial beach area for the gatherings.

Kareem also rejected accusations that the MCC had any involvement in attempts to try and block or sabotage the National Movement’s gatherings or work.

“Usfasgandu” dispute

The MCC has itself been locked in legal wrangling with the Housing Ministry over the last 13 months concerning its ability to lease an area of land known as “Usfasgandu” to the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) for use as a protest staging ground and other activities.

Usfasgandu was handed back to the MDP by the Male’ City Council last month.

The area was cordoned off by police in January after the High Court issued a warrant requesting the area be kept under police custody until it reached a verdict on the case.

Male’ City Council leased the Usfasgandu area to the ousted ruling party in March 2012, prompting repeated attempts by the government to reclaim the area on the grounds it was being used for criminal activity, including the practice of black magic.

The MDP had moved to the area after a previous protest camp at the tsunami monument was dismantled and completely repainted by police and military on March 19, 2012.


10 thoughts on “‘National Movement’ exercising freedom of assembly with artifical beach gatherings”

  1. 'National Movement' is following a precedent set by MDP. IF MDP can hold their campaign meetings in 'golhi golhi kanmathi' (road junctions) without permission, disturbing the public (sp. children), then others also will do the same. i hope tomorrow PPM, DRP, or JP will not do the same. Male' is a living hell now!

  2. I really don't understand how did these ppl get electricity from Stelco. According to stelco rules and procedure to get the service from Stelco, the applicant has to submit land use authorization from Ministry.
    I came to know from stelco staff that these ppl didn't even submit a application. It's just Stelco's Chairman's influence that they are getting free Electricity. It's just day light robbery....

  3. If there were no permission to use the land for these activities then how come they have got electricity service from Stelco?
    According to the Stelco's procedure Applicant has to submit authorisation from Ministry to get the service.
    Stelco staff has informed that there was not even application form submitted. Stelco's Chairman Cyrex Shareef has ordered to give electricity without the proper paper work.

  4. Minivan News: do some investigation into how these people are using electricity and the space.

  5. When MDp had hijacked USFASGADU, it is was down democratically .

    When MDP have their rallies and gathering in the roads, its freedom .

    When someone else does any kind of gathering any where in Maldives, it is outside the democracy .

    What a double standard these champion of democracy MDP has.

  6. So it means anyone can form organizations as and when wanted and use the same Artificial Beach for their freedom of expression without the Police coming and harassing and electricity will be provided FOC!

  7. I feel sorry for the yellow fever sick brainwashed robots who despise the ulema. for them anything is good except islam. any talk is good as long as it isn't about islam. Anything but islam. Does anybody need any more proof of their kufr than their aversion to islam?

  8. @human being on Sat, 13th Apr 2013 6:01 PM

    "I feel sorry for the yellow fever sick brainwashed robots who despise the ulema."

    Look, you are free to believe in your llamas and ulemas. No one cares. Whether you like it or not, you and your llamas or ulemas all descended from monkeys and all of us will eventually become atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen etc, as governed by the universal laws of physics.

    There is no airconditioned 5 star Hilton with rivers of wine and unlimited virgin girls for you waiting after you departure. If this is not comforting news for you, then so be it. Such is reality. You are free to be gullible and be the prey of your ulemas (or llamas).

  9. @human being on Sat, 13th Apr 2013 6:01 PM

    Dont be sorry. Be grateful. You would get more virgins, when others do not go to heaven.


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