Protesters pepper-sprayed while calling for run-off elections to be held as scheduled

Additional reporting by Mariyath Mohamed, Daniel Bosley, Neil Merrett

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) conducted a march around Male’ at 4:00pm after Friday prayers, eventually clashing with police lines at the Salsa Royal intersection on the road to the Supreme Court.

The large column of thousands of demonstrators, including the party’s presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed and several pick-up trucks with loudspeakers playing party songs, halted at the intersection, waving flags and holding up banners cut to resemble white underpants – a reference to Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed’s recently leaked sex videos – which has become a motif of the current rallies.

Protesters pushed against the line of police shields and were pepper-sprayed, with those affected – including women – using milk to try and reduce the stinging. Minivan News observed several water bottles thrown into police lines, which bounced off shields and helmets. A video of the protest showed one of the pick-up trucks trying to nudge through police lines.

Several protesters were arrested, including Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) MP Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed’, while a Haveeru reporter was taken into custody and released after four hours.

Police were deployed in riot gear and included Special Operations officers. Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officers were stationed further up the street towards the Supreme Court, while all roads leading to the area were blocked to traffic and pedestrians.

Standing on the back of a pickup truck, MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy yelled to the police: “We are rallying to ascertain we, the people, get our constitutional right to vote”.

“Your commissioner Riyaz is unconstitutionally appointed, and all orders from him are unconstitutional. You are not mandated to follow them. Listen to the voice of the people. Let us vote.”

MDP MP Ali Azim yelled: “When we first called for elections, baghees (traitors) said we have a constitution and we would get elections on the date mandated in them. What now? Here’s the mandated date. Where’s our elections?”

“Waheed, Yameen or Gasim, if you have the courage come confront us in an election, we will easily beat you with votes. The truth is you brought a coup d’etat and don’t have the guts to face its consequences,” Azim declared.

“How long can you sit on it and hold off elections? Have it today, tomorrow or in a month, and we will still win. Look at what Waheed got. A measly five percent. A world record for an incumbent president. Five percent is not representative of the state. He should be ashamed to speak on behalf of the people.”

“Please don’t push this country backwards. Give us the rights we are entitled to,” Azim said.

One protester, 25 year-old Ganim Naeem, told Minivan News: “I am not scared. They’ve pepper-sprayed me once today. They can hurt me, but I’m not going home before they agree to let us vote tomorrow.”

A police spokesperson confirmed arrests had been made but was unable to confirm the number or whether pepper spray had been used. One officer was injured, he said.

Seven hours into the protest at 11:00pm approximately 600 protesters remained in the intersection, with many in the front line carrying mirrors they held up to the police officers.

“The Elections Commission has been twisted into calling off the vote by sheer force. The MDP leadership will reconvene and decide what to do. The current protests were not planned – we went on a peaceful march,” said MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor.

Around 10:30pm two vans were set ablaze near the Alimas carnival area in Male, which was swiftly brought under control by MNDF firefighters.


23 thoughts on “Protesters pepper-sprayed while calling for run-off elections to be held as scheduled”

  1. Anni will win next round by over 70%.

    The Imran co. will be deported to Pakistan. Hahahaa...

    Then, and only then, can the country can really prosper. Without the anchorage onto 7th century.

  2. A few points:

    (1) The military coup of February 7th 2012 was declared a "special" coup. The military and the police carried out the final act masterminded by Gasim, Yameen etc.

    (2) The polls of September 28th 2013 were stopped by a court order on behest of Gasim and Yameen. The military and police are once again firmly stampeding on the democratic rights of the people of the Maldives enshrined in the Constitution.

    The second is intimately linked to the first. International bodies turned a blind eye to events in (1). I do hope they realise now that it was a mistake. Appeasing Hitler lead to World War II.

    All supporters of democracy should not stop demanding the right to a free and fair election immediately and remain on the streets 24/7 until that happens. It's not only Umar Naseer who can demonstrate on the streets and tire out the Police!

    The regime may yet suspend the Constitution and declare a state of emergency. Their back is up against the wall!

  3. Clearly the gang in the Supreme Farce want to annul the first round, but they are scared. Their paymasters ordered them so, but there is intense pressure not to do so. This is the reason why they are delaying the verdict.

    Also, delaying the verdict is a way to buy time. We shouldn't let them breathe. They declared war.

  4. Andrew Andreas

    I will not allow that. The privilege to execute Imran and co should be ours alone.

  5. That picture tells the whole story: a defenseless woman pepper sprayed by the Maldivian State militia. Her crime is demanding the right to exercise her democratic right to elect the next President of the Republic.

  6. We all know how the CSC fahumy case went, now think how difficult it will be to remove a supreme court judge? i agree that the man should be prosecuted for his alleged case of sex scandal.

    The reason why i do not support MDP over this is that they want to replace Judge Ali Hameed with another Ali Hameed loyal to MDP just like the one puppet they already have in Supreme Court.

    About the above article:

    1- The pickup trucks tried to run over the police lines

    2- Some angry protesters on frontline confronted police with iron rods (check photos on haveeru)

    3- The protesters tried to break into areas unconstitutional to hold rallies

    4- The March wasn't peaceful

    5- Police used minimal force, not a single person was seriously injured

  7. Dear readers, please check the video on sun news today, you will see Nasheed on frontline giving order to break the police lines.

    You will also see MDP pickup trying to run over the police. Pepper spray my foot!

    Visit the below links, These are not lies, see the truth to yourself..

  8. One cannot expect complete peace given recent events.

    I think all have retired behind closed doors to prepare their strategies. India is working furiously to secure their interests but seems to be losing to other forces behind the shadows.

    One wonders what the outcome of all this would be.

    As for MDP protests, they remain symbolic with members committed to keeping vigil over the rallying point while Nasheed confers with his advisers on his next move.

  9. Hmmm .. Interesting:

    1. Wasn't MP Azim a 'baaghee' who's party was 'supposedly' involved (according to MDP) in the alleged coup? So is he now protesting partly against his own self? Hard to figure that one out, or perhaps facts, morality, and standards change suddenly to suit different situations;

    2. Didn't know that 45%, as big a lead as it is, was the definition of 'majority' until now...

    Very challenging / thought-provoking questions

  10. If it's not apparent to everyone, then it should be clear by now that it's not possible to hold a free and fair election in the Maldives. An election that was seen as free and fair by EVERYONE apart from the two political parties on the losing side has now been suspended indefinitely!

    A clear strategy is being worked out to ensure that MDP is excluded. The key points are:

    (1) By delaying the election, and keeping the issue locked inside the Supreme Farce, MDP's opponents are trying to agitate the party into disarray. The key thing for them is to stop the momentum of support MDP gathered during the first round.

    (2) The longer the election is delayed, they hope that MDP will falter somewhere sooner or later. What's 100% certain is that traps have been laid to ensnare key party officials in the coming days.

    (3) There's no way that a new administration can be sworn in by 11th November. You can bet your last Rufiyaa that the current military coup led regime will try to hang on to power after that. You already know the tactic: get the Supreme Farce to release a Fatwa, regardless of what the Constitution says.

    (4) MDP should remain clam and collected. Continuing peaceful protest is fine, but do not fall into the traps that are being laid underneath your feet. Like Great White Sharks, the whole military coup led state apparatus is working overtime to shred MDP to pieces.

    (5) Poor old Election Commission whose only "fault" was administering an election in which the aforementioned political parties failed to convince the public to support them, now faces real, physical threats to its very existence.

    Watch out!

  11. @Ann on Sat, 28th Sep 2013 1:21 AM

    "Dear readers, please check the video on sun news today,..."

    Who are you trying to fool? Sun news my foot! That's the mouthpiece of PPM's ally that could not stomach a 25% showing in the first round of polls.

    Here's a regime propped up by the elastic of of Ali Hameed's under pants! Glorious Save the Maldives Pants Kazakhstan F**ing Hilarious as Borat would say.

  12. This is nothing new. We have seen pepper spray been used on innocent people repeatedly during the dictatorial regime of Nasheed.

  13. Its pretty funny to see the regular propaganda thugs forced to lie through their teeth to earn their paycheck.

    Especially Ann. Who thinks Maldivians are expendable resources.

  14. It would be instructive to have a time line on the flow of events.

    Ha! Ha!

    Does anyone has any more illusions about Democracy n Rule of Law.

  15. Maldivian crisis reaching a climax. I hope the people learn to take charge rather than waiting for UN,US, UK or India to help out. Sorry folks, but this is your fight and you need to fight it alone. And given some people are stating that Anni will will next round by getting 70% of vote - what the heck are you waiting for?!

  16. How many Bagalhis had voted in this election ? Nasheed had give many forged ID cards to vote?

    There was a huge difference between the list given to political parties than what was kept at the ballot box sites ? How come there were so much differences?

    How come EC refuse to give the voters list and it is a basic right for the parties to have excess to those list ?

    When MDP had got 95 000 votes and they only need to get few more to win the election, why do they need to make such a huge issue and create so much dramas ?

    with all these issues, EC should not have the second round of election unltill all these doubts are cleared and must respect the 55% of the people who had voted against Nasheed in the first round.

  17. I am having tea and samosa on the terrace of my uber luxe penthouse and thinking.....'those dumb islanders have screwed up the elections yet again'.
    The Indian government should not interfere and stand back and watch the tamasha.....another Egypt in the making.
    No need for me to tell you what the common denominator is, is there poppets?
    Why not televise the chaos and beam it to India?

  18. How can India help ?

    Rahul Gandhi is having same dilemma like Maldives back in India and he is calling to discredit the court orders like Nasheed.

    Virendra, it is better for you to clean up your own backyard before trying to help Maldives.

  19. @Ekalos. You are right to say India does not have a negative attitude.

    Don't drag India into mud because of Congress Gov and GMR.

    MDP would be nothing without GMR support.

  20. Hey, "India is not GMR."

    We've been fighting for our rights long before your company was allowed to invest here. So if you want your investment back, stop parroting Waheed's propaganda.


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