A third night of protests in the capital Male’ forced the government to deploy defence forces to guard the residence of President Mohamed Nasheed, as hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police following the arrest of Dr Mohamed Jameel, Deputy Leader of minority opposition Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) and Criminal Court Cheif Judge Abdulla Mohamed.
The protesters gathered outside police headquarters following the arrest of Jameel last night, for the second time this week.
At last night’s demonstration began around 9:00pm, as protesters led by opposition MPs yelled for the release of Jameel and Chief Judge Mohamed, who was detained by the military.
Minivan News reporters witnessed protesters continue to penetrate the line of shielded police patrolling the headquarters – ignoring repeated warnings by police. They yelled for the resignation of President Nasheed, Police Commissioner Ahmed Faseeh and Home Minister Hassan Afeef.
Police responded with tear gas and marched forward, pushing back the crowd to the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), where they continued to protest.
A policeman, who was reportedly injured after being pushed by some protestors, was rushed to hospital.
Minivan News also witnessed crowds apprehend and smash up a pickup registered to Male City Council, which has a ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) majority.
Meanwhile, around 15 or so Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activists faced the crowd of opposition protester, leading to direct confrontation between the two groups.
As some ran away from crowd, a few were seen falling to the ground. Police meanwhile intervened to control the violence and arrested some protesters. Crowds dispersed shortly afterwards.
However, pockets of demonstrators continued to roamed around the streets, uprooting the coconut palms planted by the city council.
DQP member Didi was reportedly attacked by MDP activists and suffered cigarette burn marks to his neck. He was treated at the ADK hospital.
Meanwhile opposition protestors marched towards President Nasheed’s residence Muleaage, which was guarded by the defence forces.
Protestors faced the guards, yelled for President’s resignation calling him a “dictator”. However, they turned back after repeated attempts to break the defence line of defence guards failed.
Few gathered near Home Minister’s house, which was also guarded by police and defence.
The protests slowly receded into the morning.
Police media official Sub-inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed eight were arrested last night, including a woman, and all were released afterwards.
As political parties’ vowed to continue protests as long as the government pursue actions against the opposition leaders, Haneef said that “to ensure stability, police will continue to take measures according to the constitution and laws”.