Parliament cancelled after demonstrations by MDP MPs, protesters

Parliament was cancelled after Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs blocked Speaker Abdulla Shahid from entering the chamber, in protest against an address that was to be given by President Dr Mohamed Hassan Waheed.

At a press conference on Wednesday evening, Shahid said he was unable enter the chamber despite several attempts, and on one occasion had fallen and injured himself. Given the current political tensions, Shahid said he was unable to guarantee the safety of members and had decided to proceed through negotiation, rather than force.

Shahid further condemned MDP’s disruption and said it was unhealthy given the current political climate.

With the exception of the streets around parliament, which were locked down by police and military officers, the streets of Male’ were eerily quiet this morning.

In the narrow alleys around parliament, protesters gathered and put pressure on police lines. The largest demonstration gathered around a group of women, some wearing face masks and goggles, who sat down in front of police at an intersection on Sosun Magu. The small group of police blocking the street to parliament appeared anxious but tolerant, and the mood was peaceful.

Roads blocked by police

Earlier this morning, police reported that four officers were hospitalised with serious injuries after protesters attempted to break through police lines near the Wood Apple and threw stones and poles. A further 10 officers suffered minor injuries before the area was reinforced by the military.

“44 people have been arrested and police have the area controlled,” said Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam. A subsequent SMS from police suggested that some of those arrested were to be tested for possible intoxication.

As of 1:00pm there had been no reports of protesters injured, and Minivan News observed police showing restraint in holding back largely peaceful crowds.

MDP MP sitting on the Speaker's table

Inside parliament, MDP MPs – who make up 34 of the 77 member chamber, after the Supreme Court disqualified MP Mohamed Mustafa last week – were blocking the Speaker of Parliament, Abdulla Shahid from entering. Images being tweeted by MPs inside showed MDP MPs sitting on the Speaker’s table at the front of the chamber. MPs barricaded the doors and removed the chairs intended for the Speaker and Dr Waheed.

Shahid and a member of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU)  reportedly spoke with MPs to try and resolve the stand-off, while Haveeru reported that Indian High Commissioner D M Mulay was seen leaving the parliamentary office.

Telephone and internet connections inside parliament were reported to have been cut.

MDP made the decision to obstruct Dr Waheed’s address after the India-sanctioned ‘roadmap’ talks failed to produce an election date. A week of talks had established a seven point agenda, which included setting an election date and discussing necessary constitutional reforms, but no order of preference was agreed in yesterday’s meetings.

Rhetoric from key government figures, including Dr Waheed, has meanwhile suggested that they favour elections as normal in 2013. The MDP maintains that Mohamed Nasheed was ousted in a bloodless coup on February 7, and that Dr Waheed’s government is illegitimate.


1:21: President Waheed’s Press Secretary Masood Imad said Dr Waheed remaining inside parliament waiting for the opportunity to give his address, but said MDP MPs had occupied the chamber and were obstructing the chamber.

2:20: Crowds in the streets outside parliament heated but non-violent. Chief of Defence Force Major General Ahmed Shiyam and Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz are reportedly conducting a meeting inside parliament, along with some members of Dr Waheed’s new cabinet.

2:55: The United States Embassy in Colombo has issued a statement expressing concern at the “disorderly protests in Malé and disruption of the opening session of the Majlis.”

“The US attaches great importance to our friendly relations with Maldives. We have welcomed the efforts of all sides to participate in a dialogue on a democratization process that could create the conditions for early elections. As the Majlis session opens, the United States encourages all parties to continue to work collaboratively and peacefully toward a solution as agreed with the Roadmap document, and not allow violence to further complicate the situation. The United States will continue to support Maldives in this process, and we stand ready to provide technical assistance on elections. In the interests of all Maldivians, we urge the parties to work together in a constructive and cooperative manner to reach agreement.”

5:30: A press conference has been called in parliament.

5:50: Spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin,  said at a press conference that India’s “Foreign Secretary was [in the Maldives] to facilitate among Maldivian parties the next steps in trying to resolve this issue. The issue that remains contentious and that is the only issue left on the table is the date of elections. There were some that wanted the date to be announced prior to the Majlis and some wanted it to be dicussed inside the Majlis. As far as India is concerned, we are okay if there is discussion inside the Majlis or any other forum that they find suitable.”

6:00: Reports of MDP MPs being warned they would be removed by the military if they continued to disrupt the session.

6:30: MDP MPs Ibrahim Rasheed and Mohamed Shifaz have reportedly been removed from the parliament chamber by the military.

6:45: Rasheed was let back into the chamber after MDP Parlimentary Group Leader Ibu Solih negotiated with the Sergeant-at-arms.

7:00: A press conference that was earlier cancelled is back on.

7:30: Speaker Abdulla Shahid has announced the cancellation of the parliament session, after MDP MPs refused to let him into the chamber. On the last attempt Shahid said he fell and hurt himself slightly. The next session is scheduled for Monday.

8:00: President Waheed, Dr Mohamed Jameel and Azima Shukoor holding a press conference imminently.


81 thoughts on “Parliament cancelled after demonstrations by MDP MPs, protesters”

  1. This is necessary and not an illegal thing to get this rogue government into check! I applaud the mps who took part.

  2. MDp wants to rule this nation. They dont have the interests of the people at heart, all they want is the satisfaction of their own business interests (10 resorts being awarded to MDP activists should go ahead). Our country has become overrun by

  3. What you saw yesterday was the "WILL" of god. Waheed knows this very well. Lol. Watta punch to that mans ego!!

  4. I feel pity for the baaghee.. Poor thing cudnt even enter the chamber.. And to think he strongly said He will give the speech..people power vs rogue government.. Haha

  5. Bin Addu, I agree with most of your comments but the British MP was not in the House of Commons, but in the Bar of the House of Commons. So it was like the Cafeteria of the Majlis if you could relate to our Majlis. I do not think there would be a Bar in our Majlis would you?
    I have defended MDP here against all odds but this is one thing I am dead against. They have broken the sanctity of the Majlis. They say they speak for democracy. NO THEY DO NOT, if they call for the burning down of resorts, lynching of people, destroying the sanctity of the Majlis, and behaving like thugs and animals.
    I would say the same thing if anyone behaves the same way. I think this is the beginning of the end of MDP if they do not change course.
    MDP has become like Gayoom's party where Gayoom is all Supreme and is the cult figure and people in his party worship him and he can do no wrong.
    MDP is the same with Anni now.

    Democracy is not one man, It is an ideology and anyone can be the leader and not one particular person. when people started chanting "Anni Zindabad" I knew this was the end of democracy in MDP.

  6. One more thing. I do not think most of you know how a democracy works and the different forms of government.
    We have a Presidential form of government and hence the government did not fall or was changed. Waheed ran on the same ballot box as Anni and was voted by the same people who voted for Anni.

    Now is that a coup that forced Anni to resign? This is the all important question. Who forced him to resign? If it was the MNDF, then it is certainly illegal and should be investigated now and the people prosecuted.
    But how on Earth can anyone decide anything in a democracy without a proper investigation and a judgement?

    This should be investigated now and the Supreme Court has to decide if it is a coup or not. If it is not a coup, then Waheed has no problems. If it is then if he is involved then he should be prosecuted and if he is not then he has fulfilled his legal obligations as per the constitution.

    So the first thing MDP should call is for an investigation and not for an election. Because they are ignoring the inquiry and the Supreme Court, I feel that they do not have a leg to stand and Anni may have resigned on his own without being forced by the MNDF.

  7. Three categories of people support MDP.

    1. Anni worshipers - Hardcore loyalists of Anni and comrades from jail days. Typically young and rebellious. About 1000 people or less.

    2. People who were given jobs and resorts in MDP government. About 5000 people.

    3. People who fear the return of Maumoon regime
    Over 50, 000 people. These are not necessarily loyal supporters of Anni.

  8. I feel pity and sympathatic towards MDP and Nasheed as he and MDP is traped with Crook, thugs, and corrupt people like Mariya, Rekko Moosa and others. And the party is going down the drain in terms of its principles and moral values it stood for years back! This is not visible to MDP hard core or Nasheed worshipers as they see numbers on street who are mere followers! Nasheed (Mariya & Rekko) lead the party to slow death! Wake up!

  9. @ manik

    1.An investigation into President Nasheed's allegations of having resigned under duress should have been the first priority of Dr Waheed. The international community had called for such an inquiry with internal representation. But he didn’t do that.

    2 When he finally did put together a committee to investigate the events leading to Nasheed’s resignation, he undermined his credibility by appointing Ismail Shafeeu, a gutless former minister of Gayoom who did nothing as Defence Minister when our people were tortured and killed in our prisons. Dr Fawas who as some people have said in this blog is said to have received financial assistance from Gasim to study overseas, and Dr Yasir whose sister is the Chair of the Human Rights Commission. Whatever trust we were willing to put in him to do the right thing disappeared with these appointments and by not inviting internal representation on the committee.

    3. Dr Waheed moved quickly to denounce the violence in the south in the riots but did not denounce the violence by the police trashing MDP Haruge and taking over the MNBC by force BEFORE President Nasheed resigned. In his first public speech he called those who rioted in the south at the brutal crackdown on us in Male’ terrorists

    4.Dr Waheed then proceeded to give interviews criticising and denouncing President Nasheed. He went on the offensive, calling Nasheed a dictator, that democracy was ruined in the three years of Nasheed in office. etc etc

    5.Dr Waheed's economic minister speaks publicly about revoking the laws of the economic reform bill specifically targeting income tax.

    6.Yesterday the Presidential Commission to investigate corruption of former President Maumoon Gayooms government was abolished.

    7.In a matter of weeks, well documented evidence submitted by the Prosecutor General’s office against Red Wave Saleem and Deputy Speaker Nazim and which has been lying in the courts for three years was thrown out and they were acquitted of corruption. In the same period an MDP MP was convicted by the Supreme Court in violation of company law but there has been no communication from Dr Waheed to the Judicial Services Commission to look into what any reasonable person can see is blatant mockery of justice. Does this look like someone who is working to bring peace, reconciliation and healing to our country? NO.

    The "sincere" protestations of being a honest broker (sic) as Dr Waheed has told Richard Branson he is, does not hold up in light of the actions he has been taking since he took President Nasheed’s chair.

    If the opposition had reason to believe President Nasheed should be removed from power, he should have been been impeached. That is how we dismiss a President. That was not how it was done. The videos, the audio tapes, eye witnesses all point to a coup. Done very cleverly to look like it wasn’t no doubt. But a coup, it was.

    Dr Waheed should have declined the Speakers invitation and done the right thing. Allowed the Speaker to take charge and call for fresh election.
    This, manik is at the heart of the protests yesterday. Our elected representatives did what they did to defend democracy and to stand for our rights. They are all that is left of our democracy. I m sure you will agree that the executive and the judiciary have failed. They are still there because the army is looking after them.

    Welcome to banana republic Maldives.

  10. India is going to benefit due to instability in rajyega . india want to take control of rajyega since long to fulfil dream as grater india. if fight continue in future Indian troops will b in rajyega soon.

  11. When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace!

    Free and fair elections asap please!!!!!

  12. Lock Anni up and throw away the key, if anyone else steps out of line do the same, No more presidency for you Anni and MDP keep dreaming, anehkaa ves baalaanan with the help of the police and military, wont be a pretty sight for you next time Anni, a lot of Maldivians are angry, watch and see.

  13. MDP and Anni are where they belong, the streets before we move them to the their final destination, to prison. We need peace and harmony, even if we have an early election and lets say MDP loses they will not accept it, will cause trouble again, who are they, S.C.U.M.

  14. We need to build a vessel large enough to accomodate all who will follow Anni and send them all packing like Anni said to aneh divehi rajje, give them enough money from the treasury so that the those greedy basketcases will move to Aussie or wherever else Anni was planning to move us when we sink as Anni is destroying this country for likes of Reeko, Zaki, Maariya (list is too long!!)

  15. @ manik, you are the dimwit if you thought the current Supreme Court is impartial. And that is why MDP is demanding an international investigation instead of one headed by Shafeeu.

    Too much cold weather seems to have fogged your brain. Better stay a little while longer in the tropics.

  16. I'm proud of all you people I have paid to comment here. Once i Have looted all the money here in Maldives ill be sure to double your pay.

  17. Ihiyanu you have no clue about democracy at all. The Supreme Court bench was appointed by the Majlis. So just because they do not kowtow to the government of the day they become corrupt?
    They may well be but in a democracy you cannot take the law into your own hands no matter what.
    This is the difference between a dictatorship and a democracy. If MDP thinks the judiciary is corrupt then in a democracy they have only one option.
    Get a majority in the Parliament. The Public votes in the members.So there is no way any party can blame anyone else but themselves and the public.

    As for Dr. Waheed, yes he should have been more aggressive in this inquiry. As for Mr. Shafeeu, I know for a fact that it was due to him that the smooth transition of power from Gayoom to Anni took place.
    Also why shouldn't Ministers or Waheed try and change the policies of Anni? After all he is the President now and what was good then may not be good now?
    Hussein, stop the slandering. Who started the Bagee business? It was MDP. I think Waheed should resign or call an early election but all this slandering was started by MDP and not Waheed.
    Could he have handled the whole thing better? Of course he can but he is not the victim here. The Victim is Anni and he should be the one clamouring for an inquiry but why is he not going down that path? Is there more to this than just a forced resignation?

    Too many unanswered questions from Annia and also Waheed.

  18. Anni is the Pide Piper.
    He will drown all his people just like the Pide Piper drowned all the rats!

  19. I do not like the fact that there are 69 comments. It is blasphemy and an invitation from Iblees! I hereby comment to change this, and save the Maldivian Muslims from eternal damnation!

  20. "I do not like the fact that there are 69 comments. It is blasphemy and an invitation from Iblees! I hereby comment to change this, and save the Maldivian Muslims from eternal damnation!"

    Wow, Sheikh.
    But I guess you forgot to change your pseudonym this time.

  21. @reired
    Pied piper is the best metaphor . That is exactly what is being done

  22. If MDP truly supported democracy, then they would publicly condemn the acts of violence their activists committed by throwing bricks and flagpoles and setting cycles on fire. A crime is a crime, no matter what side of the line you stand. All we see today is MDP pointing fingers at other people accusing others of crimes, when they turn a blind eye on the actions of their own MDP party activists. First admit that it was their party activists that set the buildings in Addu on fire, and committed arson on the day of the Majilis speech, then only the people will believe in you. Why doesnt MDP do that ?

  23. if this was a peaceful protest, I DARE YOU minivan news publishers, bring out a video of the protests and let the people judge. minivan means freedom right? so give them the video, and let them FREELY decide whats wrong and whats right 🙂

  24. The last time I heard of the justice system of Maldives its been

    1) 2 MPs from MDP were found guilty and 2 MPs from PPM were found to have committed absolutely no crime at all.

    2) A judge Abdulla who had asked a child to show him the abuse they had suffered was transfered to family where he could do more of the same.

    3) MDP supporters have been given extensions in detention without good reason.

    4) Police warrants have been issued by the lot to arrest people from Addu.

    Forgive us if we do not trust the Supreme Court to bring out a just ruling in the case of the coup.

    We have enough evidence from people like Umar Naseer. Naazim and Waheed himself on various occassions that its a coup.

    When people loose trust in the institutions that are supposed to protect them where do people turn to?

    What did people expect? MDP to let a rogue President give a Presidential Address with no opposition to it?

    For most Maldivians its OK when people do vile things as long as its done it secret but lo and behold anyone who expresses their anger and frustration in public.

    MDP MPs did not physically brutalise anyone in the Parliament but they were again brutalised by the MNDF. From what Shahid says he never requested MNDF assitance to enter the chambers. Therefore MNDF entering the chambers were again against the law.

    When the people who have the physical power brutalise those with no such power people will retaliate in ways that are not acceptable to many people.

  25. There is a very simple solution to all problems of Maldives.

    Put Maumoon behind bars. The Maldives will flourish on its own.

    For 30 years he has terrorized this country, and he is doing it again with the help of some people dancing to his beat.

    No election needed, no multi party talks, nothing. Just get rid of the virus and the epidemic will be controlled and then eradicated.

  26. Aishath, I guess you do not know what democracy is all about then?
    There were legal means to put Judge Abdulla behind bars but the government of the day did not use it but used the military to do so.
    They could have gone to the Higher Courts or to the Supreme Court.
    There were ways to stop any corruption at the Supreme Court yet the government of the day put a lock on the doors and to make matters worse by the military.
    There was no legal justification to kidnap to MPs by the military and keep them for a few days without any legal assistance. For that matter there was no legal justification to kidnap them at all.

    Now don't bring DRP or Gayoom into this. He was and is as bad as MDP now.
    Just because MDP is criticised, it does not mean that Gayoom or Waheed is good.

    For your information MDP had a majority in the Majlis till the elections of 2009. They could have and should have brought all the good changes, they say they want if they were sincere. I joined MDP among the first but this is not the party or the ideology that I worked hard for. I do not worship a man or a cult figure be it Gayoom or Anni.
    This is what MDP and PPM has become. It is a party led by a cult figure and not a democratic movement anymore.

    Your comment about the MND is really taking the biscuit. The Speaker himself was refused entry into the Majlis by some MDP members and I make a big difference about only being some members and not all MDP members. There are still decent people in MDP.

    These MPs have no right to stop the Speaker entering the Majlis. The Speaker is an elected MP from Vaawu and the people of that atoll has their rights taken away by some MDP MPs.
    This is a violation of the Maldivian Constitution. These are the kinds of people you support.

  27. We had an elected president till the paid thugs of old Qayyoom came in threw him out. That is a fact and you guys who are so blinded by money better believe it! Hard to swallow the bitter fact, I know, but our love for President Nasheed will not lessen at all by all the lies you spread. We are with MDP and we have the majority. If you think you slobs have the majority on your side, go prove it through an election!

  28. @ manik

    1. MDP did not have majority in the Special Majlis that drafted our constitution. All the constitutional matters that have arisen in the last three years because it was draft to make a government led by anyone other than Gayoom to fail. Maybe you were too young at the time, manik, or may be you have forgotten, but Gayoom had the majority because of his personal appointees on the Special Majlis.


Comments are closed.