Protesters call for boycott of “coup-financer’s businesses”

Hundreds of people marched in Malé on Monday calling for a boycott of businesses they claimed were owned by those responsible for financing the alleged coup d’état on February 7.

The march was organised by the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the NOON campaign (‘Noon’ means ‘no’ in Dhivehi). The campaign is the second boycott campaign targeting businessmen who support President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik.

UK-based NGO Friends of Maldives (FOM) has also revived a 2006 selective boycott of resorts.

Both campaigns primarily target resorts and businesses owned by local tycoon MP Gasim Ibrahim, and Vice-President nominee Mohamed Waheed Deen. The NOON campaign also calls for a boycott of the food importer Euro Store and businesses owned by Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) Vice President Umar Naseer, PPM MP Ahmed Mahloof, Defense Minister Ahmed Nazim and MP “Redwave” Ahmed Saleem.

“We have numbers, they have money. If we don’t buy from them, they won’t get the money,” said Shamau Shareef, a member of the NOON campaign. “We want to show this brutal regime and its business tycoons that we citizens are against the coup and police brutality in the Maldives.”

A Euro Store marketing official who identified himself as Fahmy said the boycott was “not based on truth or facts.”

“We don’t think Euro Store will be affected. Our sales have actually increased since all of this happened,” he added.

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb said he was “saddened” by FOM’s “irresponsible” resort boycott. “How did they derive these conclusions? What proof do they have?” he asked.

Consumer Boycott

Hundreds of protesters, waving yellow MDP flags, set out on foot and on motorbikes from Raalhugandu (surf point) at 5:00 pm calling on the public to boycott restaurants, shops and businesses that belong to “coup- financers.”

Products under boycott include Granini juice, popular Lavazza coffee, Red Bull energy drinks, Marlboro cigarettes and Lindt chocolate. These products are imported to the Maldives by Euro Store. Shops under boycott include MP Saleem’s ‘Redwave’ grocery chain and MP Mahloof’s clothing store ‘The Jeans’.

Protestors also called for a boycott of Gasim Ibrahim’s Villa Gas and his airline Flyme. The campaigners alleged Gasim Ibrahim to be one of the main financiers of the coup.

Rasheed Carpentry and Construction Company, alleged to have ties to defense minister Ahmed Nazim, and PPM VP Umar Naseer’s security services Alarms and Whale Submarine tourist attraction are also included in the list.

“We have a long list of businesses, but we are still verifying most of them,” Shamau Shareef said. The campaign was only targeting businesses who have expressed outward support for the alleged coup d’état, Shamau said.

“For example the Euro Store supplied lavazza coffee and Red Bull to the 23 December alliance,” he claimed. The December 23 alliance is a group of political parties and NGOs that stood up against deposed President Mohamed Nasheed, claiming his administration was “irreligious”.

The NOON campaign had gathered over 1400 supporters within 24 hours of its launch on Facebook on Sunday. “It’s caught on very quickly. People support this campaign. If we can get mass public support, then we can be quite effective,” Shamau said.

The campaign intends to distribute leaflets on products under boycott to every household in Malé city, he added.

Responsible Traveler

The Friends of Maldives first called for a boycott of resorts owned and operated by supporters of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in 2006. The NGO relaunched the selective boycott under the name Maldives Travel Advisory in late February.

The NGO stressed the campaign was not a boycott of the Maldives, but rather a boycott of resorts “linked to individuals or groups who we suspect to be involved in the subversion of democracy and in human rights abuses in the Maldives.”

Resorts are classified into categories; “those we encourage you to visit, those under consideration and those which should be avoided.”

Seven resorts are currently on the avoid list; six belong to Gasim Ibrahim and one belongs to Mohamed Waheed Deen. Twelve resorts connected to businessmen Salah Shihab, Abdullah Jabir and Hussein “Champa” Afeef are under consideration.

“We also urge you to consider the idea of being a responsible traveler. Don’t let your pleasant holiday contribute to the suffering of others, whether it is to the Maldives or to any other place,” FOM said.

Ahmed Adeeb said he was “unsure” if the campaign would be effective as FOM is based in the UK, and because the UK market competes with the European and the Chinese markets. However, he said the government was working to counter FOM’s claims.

“From day one of my appointment, I have been trying to address cancellations,” he said. The UK and Germany issued travel advisories following the February 7 unrest, but revoked them in early March.


19 thoughts on “Protesters call for boycott of “coup-financer’s businesses””

  1. I can understand why people who are broke, like Gasim and Thasneem, have to be Baghee. They have raided our current accounts in Bank of Maldives and they owe Maldivians millions of dollars. They need to stay in power, be it by being Baghee, to fund their usury (debt) ridden lives. I don’t understand why respected business like Solah Shihab, Champa Afeef, Corwn Saleem, Crown Nazir have to retort to being Baghee. To the best of my knowledge they are not indebted to Maldives. They enjoy very favorable tax rates. I can’t believe that these respected individuals are similar to low lives like Jabir who is so stingy that joined the coup to deny ordinary Maldivian getting GST. Why?

  2. One of the most recent examples of a self-coup was that by the elected Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, who attempted to takeover the independent Maldivian Judiciary on January 16, 2012, by the enforced disappearance of the Chief Judge of the Criminal Court

  3. Your confusion is correct however the conclusions you have reached are your own.

    The businesses targeted include those owned by prominent families within the Maldives. The actual boycott is highly personal and targeted at select clans in the Maldives.

    I fear this campaign is all talk. Lavazza is the most preferred brand of coffee in the Maldives which is highly popular with the youth. Meanwhile Red Bull has become akin to an addiction. Promoting a boycott of these products would amount to nothing more than an alienation of the youth population and a projection of the MDPs image as a party that conducts pointless political demonstrations.

    The resort boycott campaign, likewise, has no real teeth and no one is taking it that seriously.

    Foreigners from established democracies would recognize straightaway that this campaign targets businesses that are accused of funding an alleged coup. The so-called coup has not been proven in any real sense of the word. Public sentiments regarding the legitimacy of the current administration has not been assessed however there is no question about the legal legitimacy of the government as it stands.

    As for those businesses they are protected by defamation laws and the Maldives pressing need for investment in the commercial sector.

  4. I must say solah shihab was not involved in this coup , this is out of jealously from MDP linked travel agencies that are trying to crush this man because of huge success in the tourism industry of Maldives

  5. why does universal and lily are left out , i wonder why when they spend so much for this coup they are eliminated from the list

  6. This attempt to "hit where it hurts" will at least raise awareness of the fact that there are Maldivians who want their vote back - and that its been taken from them by a self-interested few.

    The plus side of being a small community, is that everyone knows who was involved. This makes it easy to target some businesses and not others: this is simply why some businesses are not included. There is enough evidence out there (on video included) to finger the main culprits. All talk of proof is selective delaying by a government which seems rushing to revise school textbooks while shamefully dragging its feet on investigating human rights abuse on February 8 and beyond.Their obvious bad behaviour becomes more apparent by the day.

    At least the thinking sunseeker knows he has a choice to come and go with his conscience clear - or not. Those who don't care won't care anyway.

    Surely any attempt at non-violent protest is to be applauded, especially an accurately targeted one such as this.

  7. This is selective but not effective unless businesses owned by the champa is included in the boycott list.

  8. it wont hot where it hurts it will only hit the poor. Shame on you.MDP wants power, its not the interest of the common people. If so why didnt they boycot fantasy when they sold the rotten bread. This is all politics.

  9. What about Sugar ? I heard that sugar had been used in the tea that had been served to Police controlling the Feb 7 protests. If so, we must do all that we can against sugar and sugar users. I propose a boycott of all sugar and sugary products.

    Let us also immediately organize a demonstration against sugar, and ride around town yelling Baagee sugar resign, hang sugar etc etc. This is gonna be awesome !

  10. Alleged Coup is word of one sick fella Nasheed who is suffering from Antisocial personality disorder. He needs to go thru his treatment and get recovered quicky until then his aligibilty to lead our country is in question. Both the alleged coup and Nasheed's rule of man during his 3 year term needs to be investigated. Also terrorism act led by Nasheed has to be investigated and tried in the rule of law. A terror leader is loose on our streets and immediate action is needed to stop him from any such act.

    "Friends of Maldives" is supporting terror group MDP.

  11. boycot STO. DO NOT USE rice, sugar, flour and oil. its all bagee business. BOYCOT HANDOO, FUH, HAKURU, THEYO.

  12. Boycotting businesses and tarnishing their reputation based on "suspicion" of having financed the alleged "Coup" goes completely against the values advocated by MDP ie: Rule of Law and Justice.

    Without any proof these businesses have been targeted on "Suspicion". I see this as an blatant at intimidating businesses to support MDP's position.

    This is no way to win the hearts and minds of people. MDP's habit of threatening those who may not have the same views only harms their cause.

    Is MDP forgetting a very basic principle of Democracy - You are innocent until proven guilty.

  13. @ Radhun on Tue, 27th Mar 2012 9:41 AM

    Ohhh look, you didn't write the symptoms of AntiSocial personality disorder...why?? isn't that your usual Ctrl C + Ctrl V ???
    Wake up Maldivians! Few people have amassed the wealth of the country and they ar enot satiated with that and hence wants complete power over the country and it's citizens. and the best place for them to acquire power is by hijacking the government. and like fools we sit and think they are doing this out of love for the country, the religions and it's people?? Like Hell, they care!!! Wake up and make a difference!

  14. I am saddened to see such affairs. This is because MDP themselves are doing what Gayoom failed to do. That is destroy MDP.
    MDP is being destroyed from the inside by some people. I hate to say but this is also clan led. The people operating out of Kenereege and their cronies are doing this.
    Why should people like Salah Shihab support a coup when two of his brothers are in prominent positions in MDP and his partner Mohamed Shafeeg(who was beaten brutally by the Police on the 8th) is also very prominent supporter of MDP.
    If he gets hit then Shafeeg gets hit automatically.
    As for FOM they are not friends of Maldives but friends of Anni.
    This is the sad reality of life in Maldives now.

  15. @ Manik I can only add its pure ignorant and some people simply dont even know who & what they are talking about.

  16. MDP is becoming a negative, destructive factor.It's sad.New leadership should come up save MDP before it's too late.

  17. I think those who are not targeted are the ones who have their feet on both boats! Clever or cunning!
    We have been had long enough by these business people.
    Hit them harder! Then they will realize!

  18. I believe you have left out one very important business who supported the coup detat on 7 February. VB!!! I know for a fact that they distributed water, soft drinks and energy drinks no.1 jetty on the morning of 7 February!


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