Police urge peaceful rhetoric from MPs amidst local election violence

Police are urging caution within the rhetoric used by the country’s politicians amidst concerns that numerous “small” clashes between followers of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) in recent days could escalate into major violence.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said that a number of violent clashes between apparent supporters of the MDP and DRP had been brought under control by police recently, including confrontations on Kaandehdhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll yesterday following the arrival of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Gayoom, who is also the honorary leader of the DRP, was said to not have been caught up in the confrontations, according to party representatives.

However, the attacks have led to claims from prominent DRP MPs such as Ahmed Mahloof that a small number of their counterparts within the MDP deliberately incited their own supporters to injure opposition party members. Mahloof claimed that there was also video evidence to prove support his claims, although the MDP has denied any of its members were involved in encouraging the violence.

Sub-Inspector Shiyam said that no arrests had been made following the clashes on Kaandehdhoo, which lasted “a few hours”, and that injuries recorded as a result of the confrontations were not thought to have been serious, however he said that similar violence in recent days had affected power supplies on some islands.

Shiyam said that the police service was not blaming any individual political party for the apparent outbursts, but conceded there had been a number of cases of violent confrontations, particularly between MDP and DRP supporters of late ahead of next month’s local council elections.

“We would call on the leaders of political parties to ensure they have control of their people,” he said. “They have to be aware that small clashes can turn into big confrontations.”

Upon arriving on Kaandehdhoo yesterday along with Gayoom and former DRP Deputy Leader Umar Naseer, Mahloof claimed that around 200 MDP supporters had shown up to protest alongside supporters of the opposition party.

“We understand that MDP supporters want to come out and raise their voices, but we cannot accept violence,” he said. “They [MDP supporters] attacked Umar Naseer and I have two broken fingers.”

Mahloof claimed that the trouble started when Gayoom had arrived on the island as part of his campaign strategy for the upcoming local council elections, before MDP supporters began to move towards where the former president was staying.

This movement was thought to have led to confrontations between rival supporters, sparking the violence that followed.

“Mr Gayoom himself didn’t see anything,” he said.

Mahloof alleged that MDP MPs Mohamed Qasam and Mohamed Nazim were involved in directly inciting the violence that took place on the island and that he had video proof to support his claims and would be consulting police over the issue.

“We are saddened to say that the MPs arrived with a group of thugs,” he claimed. “These are people who should try and do things in a democratic way.”

Ultimately, Mahloof said that although clashes between supporters had begun before Gayoom’s arrival on the island, the DRP were not a violent party and he himself did not want to encourage any further attacks from its supporters in the run up to the local council elections and beyond.

However, he suggested that there was only so much some supporters may be willing to take.

“We hope that the MDP leaders and the president will discourage supporters from again planning to attack us,” Mahloof claimed. “There are so many people who would be willing to die for Mr Gayoom.”

Allegations that MDP MPs were directly involved in the violent confrontations were strongly denied by party spokesperson Ahmed Haleem, who claimed that he was certain that Gasam and Nazim would not have supported attacking opposition members.

“They are going to talk with supporters and try to encourage non-violence within the party,” he said. “They are responsible MPs.”

Haleem claimed that the DRP was itself always trying to “put the finger of blame” on the MDP to try and insinuate there was violence within the party.

However, the MDP spokesperson alleged that it was the development of factions within the DRP between supporters of current leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and former head Gayoom that was leading to a number of violent confrontations during the election campaign.

“The DRP have been responsible for violent acts against Thasmeen from within Gayoom’s faction of the party,” he claimed. “The MDP is not a party of violence.”

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12 thoughts on “Police urge peaceful rhetoric from MPs amidst local election violence”

  1. maumooms good friend husni mubarik in trouble.. mr gayoom takes note that no one likes dictatorships. none of these dictators admit they are dictators. mugabe, mubarik, maumoon, mahathir. Leave!!!

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  2. Mubaraks style of governance is similar to a dictator. But the main reason for the uprising in Egypt is the right wing capitalist economy. Majority of state companies have been privatized and the citizens are like slaves. I guess our fate will be similar within few years. Mubarak is supported by the foreign investors, Israeli bankers, and rich elites in Egypt.

    Chances are high that an IRANI style mullah government that will bring an end to secularism will be established if Mubarak fails now. Cause the main opposition is called the Muslim Brotherhood. So hold your celebrations for a while.

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  3. The recent conflict is the return back of Dictator Gayyoom to politics. He should be careful as one Arab dictator gone and the second in the verge of his last days. This old man is stupid enough to destroy his own party by bringing thugs like Umar,Ilham and Mahloof. Maldivians need to clean DRP before we could move forward.

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  4. whats all these talks abt mubarak falling? is there any relevence of that to this article? can i just write anything as a comment? like how i ate a whole submarine burger and then burped..can that be also published?
    Anyways "Addu" has written somethinng which i would like to comment about. so what egypt has a religious government after the fall of that dictator? what does that matter to you?
    anyways the events in Tunisia and Egypt shows that people dont want these western backed puppet governments. to some extent it shows the failure of secularism itself. both Mubarak and ben ali are highly secular thugs openly against religion. Its good that thses people are going down. so that ordinary muslims can have some space to breath normally.

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  5. Salaam,

    I do wish that Grandpa Maumoon is senile. But the reality seems to be otherwise. He has recruited a weapon of mass destruction. Umar Naseer. Like one commentator said Umar first broke Mahir's backbone. Now he has gone and broken the DRP's backbone. Out of chaos comes order. Like the Phoenix, Maumoon hopes to rise once again. "From the ashes of defeat will rise a new Germany". We haven't forgotten these words of Adolf Hitler, the world's no.1 dictator whom Maumoon seems to be set on emulating. It's good news for MDP and democracy 'cos ultimately this fool will bring about the downfall of his own party in his insatiable quest for power. Keep up the good work, Maumoon. A little more plastic surgery and you will be competing with the likes of Brad Pitt. And keep Umar Naseer by your side until he gets his backbone broken. Thasneem lacks in charisma the same way he lacks funds. You made sure he spent every last cent of his on your last campaign.Brilliant!

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  6. Umar Nasser is draging President Gayyoom around Maldives so that people can humiliate him. President Gayyoom should be allowed to live with dignity as the ex head of state. Those advising him are not allowing this.

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  7. Such a disgraceful scene when MDP and its MPs have to resort to such things. Its like the use of knives and such, cowards. MDP knows that if they came to a skin on skin old school fist fight(democratic style) they will loose, there the truth is there, the truth is Anni and MDP are a minority without its non existent coalition, even if they spend millions turning the place into a tacky yellow mess.

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  8. Now now Ahmed, not a good morning for you heh? What did brother Anni do that you hate his guts so much. You are very bitter about something. You dad must have been living off Moyamoon's pay list.I salute Anni for his courage to over throw Gayoom's regime.

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  9. Maumoon and his regime must be thankful that the people are not making mince meat out of them!
    Perhaps they would have if not for President Nasheed and his tollerance and "not going to look back", is understood by peoples and they believe in him!
    It still would take time for some distracted supporters to understand and believe facts of life!
    But it is highly foreseen that the true colour of DRP undoubtedly would emerge somewhere around the corner and the Police better be aware of it!
    Ambulance siren is increasingly heard these days!

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