Police use pepper spray to disperse MDP protesters gathered near Hiriya School

Maldives police used tear gas to disperse the MDP protesters that gathered near Hiriya School this morning to protest against President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan, who visited the school to inaugurate the “Clean Energy for Male” project.

The President officiated over the opening of the school’s solar panel system and chatted with members of staff.

Japanese Ambassador to the Maldives Nobuhito Hobo signed the scheme over to the school, and the system was connected to the grid. The project is the first phase of a US$11 million project to set a precedent for the use of solar panels on rooftops in Male’. Panels have been installed on the President’s Office, the youth centre, Hiriya school and Thaajuddheen school.

Protesters gathered near the school at about 11:00am and surrounded the police barricades, which had been set up blocking all routes to the school entrance.

Women were at the front of the protest while there were men behind them. Some of the women sat on the street during the protesters.

The protest exploded with shouting as President Waheed arrived and was escorted into the premises with the help of the police, who forced back the protesters to allow for Dr Waheed’s arrival.

It was reported that some of the protesters went past the police barricades before the being forced back to the original line of protesters.

Tear gas was used to disperse the crowd after they started spraying water at police.

A witness who was present at the protests told Minivan News that the police had also used tear gas on the women who had sat down in the street.

“At first they [police] came towards the women sitting down and told them to leave the premises and to go behind the barricades but the women refused. Then they tried by force to send them away and after the women started refusing, they sprayed pepper spray,” the witness said.

The witness added that the pepper spray had been used at close proximity.

In spite of this, there were no serious injuries to the protesters although both the police and the protesters received minor wounds.

Police spokesperson Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said that the protesters had thrown water and other objects towards the police, and said that a female police officer was hit by an object thrown by the protesters.

“The protesters threw stones and other objects towards police and one of our female officers got hit in the head. The protesters used abusive language towards the police and some of the even spat on the officers.” Shiyam said.

Shiyam said that the police used tear gas when the protesters began throwing things at them. “We used tear gas only to control the crowd when they began throwing things at us,” he claimed.

Shiyam also said that the police did not arrest any of the protesters despite them breaking through the police barricades.

President Waheed left the premises at about 12:15pm after waving at the crowd. MDP spokesman Hamid Abdul Ghafoor alleged the wave was “a clenched fist”, signifying Waheed’s growing impatience with such incidents.

A teacher from the school disputed this version of events, remembering the President “waving nicely” as he left.

Ghafoor compared this event with the disruption of the Japanese embassy’s tsunami anniversary event at the Nasandhura Palace Hotel last night.

“It doesn’t matter what time of day [it is], people just assemble. They are not necessarily coming from the [MDP] rally point. It is because they just dislike him. It is very grassroots, not just MDP,” said Ghafoor.

“As time goes by, the opinion of the coup leaders is that people will settle. But I feel they are getting more unsettled and anger is being expressed. Disillusionment is turning to anger.”


14 thoughts on “Police use pepper spray to disperse MDP protesters gathered near Hiriya School”

  1. This has gone beyond MDP now. People who have never participated in political activism are coming out to protest. People are enraged because they feel their votes have been robbed. This country would not stabilise until power is returned to the people. If Dr. Waheed wants to legitimise his claim to the Presidency then he should go to the polls and legitimise it.

  2. Waheed turning upto get the fame from projects implemented and carried out by the Nasheed government.The shamelessness of this man is just too much.

  3. They closed all the doors to the hall and was sweating like anything. He was definitely not welcome but of course he came in with the help of the force.

  4. I am told that the Environment Ministry and Education Ministry influenced the speech of the student talking at the ceremony. Not only do these people force themselves into leadership of the country after a military and police lead coup They are now starting to force thought and expression of students. is this what UNICEF taught Waheed and Asim.

  5. This is now too much MDP. 'Where is my vote' burugaa girls are becoming a mess now in the city. I doubt all of you voted for the animal anni in 2008, otherwise he wouldn't have had the need of a coalition at that time. You girls have been paid by MDP to create this mess now. The coward men in MDP are now staying at home and sending their islamist women on the streets to shout unislaminc words and explicit unislamic behaviour on the streets. Well, bark as much as you can all of you, but there will be no election until you all stay at home first and bring some peace and harmony to this country. Ms Noorban, you are shouting your guts off because of your brother Alhan, who is a swine. He was a traitor to all those people who gave him votes in Addu feydhoo. So think of where their votes have gone first before asking for what ahppened to your own vote.


  7. @yasir... The MDP do not have money to behave like you,... To corrupt and bribe. Hey just have votes for a hong called democracy you Neanderthal!
    Now even non MDP people want their say. The thing is, it is a fact hat nowhere in the world has democracy been uninvented and reversed. NOWHERE.

  8. I dont know if I ever will vote for MDP. Thats for later to find out. For now I go on the roads, every single day. I join whoever protests against the coup regime. It is unacceptable in a civilised country as Maldives pretends to be (towards tourists for $). The coup is not acceptable. The brutal police and mndf (dont forget them) force against common people, against women !!!. against old ... Not again back to Gayooms. Never that. He let murder kaafa, they raped grandma ... no way they stay where they are, by no means, by any means. You can count on that we ARE getting more and more angry. That we want to DO something NOW. That we prepare the bills, for each and all of them.

  9. for heaven's sake!
    i didnt even vote for Anni and Waheed....

    but those of you who had, u voted for waheed to take over if Anni ever resigned or died while in office.
    dont let MDP brainwash you. Your vote is as valid today as it was before 7th feb.

    if its anyone who should come out, it should be those who didnt vote for Anni-Waheed.

    Anni has ruined this country! He is a corrupt man with just one thing on his mind: Power at any cost!

  10. Poeple did not give Waheed the mandate to bring a coup and form a new government. This is where Waheed is just plain wrong. We want our right to vote for a change of government or otherwise. That is all we're asking for. This issue is bigger than Anni and Maumoon and Buruma Gasim and Sheikh Imran. Don't force government on us. Have the decency to let us choose. Then if you have 90% well and good!!!!

  11. "Police use pepper spray to disperse MDP protesters gathered near Hiriya School"

    That is admirable goal!

  12. pls dont lie. There was no tear gas used in the scene. Pls do not spread hatred among Maldivians

  13. AnonymousMDPWoman: Sqaaawk ! This was a Cooop ! A cooop i tell you ! Squawkk ! cluck cluck... Sq...waaaak... i think i laid an egg...


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