Police have reportedly arrested 99 people following violent confrontations yesterday during protests led by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to disrupt President Dr Waheed Hassan Manik’s presidential speech.
Police have told local press that 80 men, 13 women and six minors were among those who were arrested.
Of those arrested, 14 suspects were said to have tested positive for illegal drugs, though security officials did not specify what substances were have said to have been found.
Speaking to the press yesterday Police Superintendent Ahmed Mohamed claimed that the demonstrations taking place near parliament were at first peaceful.
However, Mohamed added that the protests turned violent after demonstrators attacked officers and entered in to the green zone.
He said security forces attempted to disperse the crowd, but protesters then used pavement bricks and other objects as weapons to attack the security forces.
During the clashes, Villa TV[VTV], owned by MP ‘Burma’ Gasim Ibrahim, the leader of the Jumhoory Party [JP] – part of Dr Waheed’s government coalition – was vandalised by the protesters.
Mohamed said the attack was itself an act of terrorism and that those involved should receive the harshest punishment possible.
He said 11 police officers were injured and one with serious injuries has been now sent abroad for treatment.
A police spokesperson today told Minivan News that some of the arrested persons have been taken to the court for an extension of their detention period. The police official was unable to specify the exact number of people who were facing extended detentions at present.
‘’It is very difficult to say at the moment because I am not quite sure about the figures,’’ he said. ‘’This evening we will provide details of the arrests.’’
Police also yesterday dismantled a protest camp site near to the Tsunami memorial that had been home to some MDP supporters originally from islands around the country without any prior warning.
The area was cleared; with people inside moved by police back behind a blockade at the entrance of the surfpoint.
Normality appears restored as of today though, where there is not a single Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) flag or a trace of the colour yellow seen in the area when the police left.