Opposition street demonstrations head into third consecutive night

Additional reporting by Mohamed Saif Fathih and Ismail Humaam Hamid

The opposition coalition will hold a third consecutive night of protest in the capital Malé tonight (February 14).

After hundreds gathered on the corner of Fareedhee Magu on Thursday and Friday nights, protesters and speakers called for President Abdulla Yameen’s resignation.

Criticism of the recent arrest of defence minister Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim by speakers at this weekend’s protests was joined by further support for the minister from the religious conservative Adhaalath Party.

Despite a strong police presence on both nights, there was little unrest and no arrests, with police spokesmen describing the demonstrations as peaceful.

After previous support from party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla following Nazim’s arrest on charges of plotting a coup last week, Imran yesterday suggested no one was safe from arbitrary arrest.

“It is very likely that in the near future many others like Nazim will be thrown into jail cells like him,” read a tweet from Imran yesterday, followed by the ‘justicefornazim’ hashtag.

While the party is not officially part of the ruling Progressive Coalition, the Islamic ministry is headed by party member Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, and has so far rejected overtures to join the opposition’s campaign to ‘defend the constitution’.

“By saying that Adhaalath Party supports the current government, we do not mean that we agree with all their actions,” read another tweet from the party president earlier this week.

Adhaalath spokesman Ali Zahir – who recently joined Nazim’s legal team – was not responding to calls at the time of publication.

Speaking at Thursday night’s rally, MDP Chairman Ali Waheed suggested that the government was removing all internal opponents, one minister at a time.

“The day before yesterday the defense minister was hailed and deemed trustworthy. Now he is in a jail cell accused of crimes of a magnitude never seen before in Maldives,” said Waheed.

Nazim’s lawyers have suggested that weapons police claim to have found in his home on January 18 were planted. Police last week claimed to have found evidence the minister “was plotting to physically harm senior Maldivian state officials” on a pen-drive obtained during the search.

Waheed suggested on Thursday evening that dismissals from within the police were imminent, while JP leader Gasim told crowds that further splits within the ruling party would soon result in the defection of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MPs to the opposition.

During yesterday’s protest, MDP MP Rozaina Adam reportedly described the country as having “Stockholm syndrome”, referring to what she described as society’s apathy in the face of government oppression.

Maamigili MP Gasim also blamed the president for the current difficulties being faced by educational institutions involved in land disputes with the government, which has prompted fears that courses will be disrupted.

“We do not have to ask anybody to resign,” Gasim told the crowds. “According to the CoNI report this govt does not have legitimacy. I call on relevant institutions to assume the responsibilities of presidency accordingly”.

Opposition leaders have suggested the withdrawal of Gasim’s JP from the governing coalition mirrors the circumstances described in the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) report into the controversial resignation of MDP leader Mohamed Nasheed from the presidency in 2012.

The report suggested that Nasheed’s government had lost legitimacy after coalition partners pulled out in the early stages of his administration.

Gasim himself was one of those who left the governing coalition in 2012, subsequently spearheading anti-government protests before rising tension led to a resignation Nasheed maintains was given under duress.

The CoNI report also pointed out that the MDP never enjoyed a clear majority in the 17th Majlis, a problem not currently shared by the Progressive Coalition, which has 49 seats in the house – with 11 members having switched to the PPM since last year’s polls.

Nasheed has argued that a succession of failed coalitions suggests the country should adopt a parliamentary system – previously rejected in a 2007 referendum.

While PPM spokesmen were not responding to calls at the time of publication, the President’s Office said it had no comments to make on the rise in street activity.

Related to this story

Are politics returning to the streets of Malé?

We will change the government according CoNI report, says Nasheed

Police accuse Nazim of plotting coup, planning to harm senior government officials


11 thoughts on “Opposition street demonstrations head into third consecutive night”

  1. I am not yet satisfied that the political instability in the Maldives is due to the presidential system of government which Mr Gayoom preferred and advocated and got.

    Mr Gayoom may have thought that the presidential system of government is more in tune with Maldivian history and culture.

    Constant shifting of loyalties and allegiances by Maldivian politicians and MPs is, however, evidence and proof that one-man rule system that obtained in this country for so long did not develop a political cultue that will support democracy and good government.

    Like his predecessors in presidency, Mr Gayoom did not prepare the country and its society for life after him and without him. The result has been a famous comeback for Gayoom the senior as PPM ruling party leader and Gayoom the junior-otherwise known as Yameen- being elected as Maldivian president.

    The legacy of dictatorship is dictatorship and dictatorship means centralisation of power and arbitrary arrest and monopoly of government by a few. Dictator Gayoom was successful in maintaining law and order but the breakdown of law and order is one of the prominent features of the kingdom of Gayoom in his new democratic clothes.

    The common man in the Maldives is gullible and innocent to the degree that he cannot be trusted with the tools of democracy. The monkey does not know how to use the handkerchief and the Maldivian does not know what to do with democracy.

    In the power vacuum caused by the fall of the first Gayoom the judiciary tried to fill the void but it remains to be seen whether the judiciary can continue to run the show. The judiciary needs its puppets for its puppet show.

    Failing to find civilian puppets, the judiciary may look for a military stongman.But then Maldives does not have a strong military culture that Egypt Maldives' teacher has.

    Where does Mohamed Nasheed and Gasim Ibrahim stand in this scenario? Inspite of his money and brains, Mohamed Nasheed still remains a marginal figure in Maldivian politics. He has yet to convince me with his practical ability.

    As for Gasim Ibrahim, his role as a constitutional lawyer is less impressive than his money bag that can be very generous sometimes but to no avail.

    Meanwhile, the Gayoom show goes on in our midst. Please show me an alternative.

  2. We have seen how Nasheed had ruled this country and he did rule like a dictator and expected everyone to follow his order.

    He took the constitution to his own hand and this was the failure of that idiot.

    Gasim is power hungry man and if he ever be able to become the ruler, he will make Maldives as his own properly .

    Yameen will not resign as Nasheed since he does not have time where "Momentarily ill" . Unlike Nasheed, yameen will not be under the influence of alcohol and drugs .

  3. @ Mr. Michael F….

    So now the problem is the Presidential System. 5 years ago it was due to lack of democracy and human rights.

    Truth of the matter is there NOTHING WRONG with the system in Maldives. Its human error or manipulative tactics of those in charge that is the cause of the unrest. No matter how precise and perfect the system is, if its abused by the guardians of the system like the police (just like a child being abused by a parent), there will be unrest.

    Parliamentary systems can practically elect and legitimize a tyrant…. with enough money. Its absolutely the wrong idea for Maldives.

    Alternative for you: Make a Government complete its term of 5 years how ever tyrannical it is. Its clear and simple.

  4. The continuing political drama in Maldives will make a great Bollywood comedy. Lets call it Morons of Maldives starring Hero, Kashim and Habibib.

  5. It's not and never has been Qaumathkaa, "for the nation"'.

    It's always have been '"Qayoomatakaa"', "for qayoom"'

    This country will now be renamed, 'the Kingdom of Qayoomi Mordis, where they have the God given right to rule forever. He doesn't want to, but God has asked him to rule Mordis. Nobody can even whisper against that revelation, let alone voice against!

    Like a certain other retarded Bedouin nation we know!

  6. @MissInida.
    We don't need your opinion in this country.

    MissIndia thug Agrwal who is the person who got huge amoijt of money from GMR deal will not be able to sleep these days , dreaming that Nasheed will throw this Giov. in few days and then GMR will be back.

    You mormon, GMR will not be able to set thier feet in our solid and Nasheed will never be able to take over this country and he can be the president of Kenereeege.

  7. MissIndiaAgarwaltheThug, it was Rajiv Gandhi under the name of “Operation Cactus” who tried to take over the Maldives using the vanquished Plotte terrorists from Sri Lanka. As often as it happens, the operation backfired and Qayyoom requested Rajiv to clean-up the mess he created. Rajiv obliged by doing a mopping-up and sending the invaders out of our beloved country in Nov. 1988.

  8. Can only see one intelligent remark to this article, and is the first one. Yes I also think the government’s political problem will persist, the oppositions need other alternative. It would take decades before the country is ready to have a fair and supporting relationship with itch others. They can start with thatching tolerance and relationship with others, instead of hatred and mistrust. That means political view, religions, races, families, poor as well as rich. I can only see one quick solution and that is one of the two major ridges in the area, Carlsberg ridge and the South Indian Ocean ridge has a major earthquake. Then the survivor’s has to pull together

  9. And with one fell swoop, "habibib" destroys the false story perpetrated by the maumoonists about 'Nasheed's rebellous family'.

    I love it when the enemy is goaded into destroying their own lies.

  10. @Minivan.
    Nasheed family was the people who plotted the invasion of this nation on 3rd Nov. in 1988.

    Safari tours are owned by Nasheed family members and Nasheed is inheritance of the wealth from Safari tours.

    Sikka Ahmed Maniku was actively involved on the plot and Nasheed father was also a man who had finance the plot.

    This can not be erased from our History and it must be written and it must be made to know for the generation to come.

    This is why when Nasheed came into power, the very first thing he did was and declared nov. 3rd as a normal working day and that day will not be marked as public holiday even ?

    Why did he do that ? Simple, he want the people to forget that day .

  11. MissIndiaAgarwaltheThug and for clearance of any doubt you, Messers "Maldivian" and "Hero"; may I wish to state that Sikka Ahmed Ismail Maniku, Sagaray and Louthfi were closely working as agents of Uma Maheshwaran-of-Plotte-the-vanquished the tool of Rajiv Gandhi. In the same spirit of mind, Sikka is still supportive to Indian wishful thinking of acquisition of the Maldives and is influencing to create instability in the Maldives


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