Protests to continue as police threaten zero-tolerance

Maldives Police Services has said it will adopt a zero-tolerance policy during protests if opposition demonstrators continue their current, increasingly violent trajectory which has sent four police officers to the hospital in the past two days.

Citing protesters’ recent use of fireballs, petrol bombs and bricks, police have said they will exercise full legal authority to prevent the ongoing anti-government protests from developing into acts of terrorism.

Opposition rotesters have demonstrated every night since January 16, when Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed was arrested by military forces and detained at a training facility in Kaafu Atoll Girifushi. Opposition party members have drawn crowds of approximately 200 to 300 nightly to the area in front of the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) near the Male’ fish market, while ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members have taken to gathering at their party camp on the other side of the island.

Police and military forces have patrolled key areas of the island on a regular basis, nightly arresting individuals for violent activities.

Speaking of last night’s demonstration, Sub-Inspector Hussain Haneef said 37 individuals were arrested “for violence and acting against police orders.” He added that nine individuals have been released.

Mohamed Haisham, a protest coordinator and member of opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), said most individuals arrested last night were women and blamed any violent agitation on MDP, “who is giving money, drugs, alcohol and knives to gangs who are causing the problems.”

Haisham said protesters are undeterred by the police warnings. “Tonight’s protest will be very strong,” he informed Minivan News, adding that protests will continue until “the biggest one”, a rally scheduled for February 24.

Last night’s unrest also led to the breaking of windows at MDP headquarters and the Finance Ministry, as well as the windshield of a city bus.

Police have also launched an investigation into a Henveiru ward fire which broke out last night in the home of musician Ibra Rasheed, destroying a majority of the musical equipment belonging to himself and his son.

Rasheed, who claims not to belong to any party, has been producing music against the former government since the 1980s; between 1988 and 2003 he was arrested, jailed and banished to an island. “They arrested me for drugs, but everybody knows I don’t use drugs. They really arrested me for my music,” he said.

Since the current government came to power in 2008 Rasheed has been able to produce and sell six albums, however he claims being hassled by supporters of the former government for his work.

In 2010 Rasheed released the song “Black 30 Years” criticising the lifestyle of Abdulla Hameed, former Atolls Minister and half-brother to former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. “After that I was walking by the postal building and saw Shaheem Hameed [his son]. He refused to shake my hand and said he would sue me for what I did to his father,” Rasheed said. Soon after he was beaten up in the street, he said.

In the past several weeks, the threats have become more frequent.

“There are guys who come around on their motorbikes and tell me they are going to beat me and kill me. With these protests now they are coming more often, I am scared anything might happen to me so I stay at home. I think they were the ones who started the fire [in my son’s room].”

Rasheed said the door to his son’s room was locked and vacant when smoke began pouring out. House residents forced open the door and put out the flame, however all of the equipment inside was destroyed. “We kept my son’s computer for mixing and the guitars and most recording stuff in there,” he explained. “Someone told me the Islamic Bank can provide financial support, but I haven’t talked to the bank yet.” Rasheed said the damages amounted to Rf80,000 (US$5,200).


10 thoughts on “Protests to continue as police threaten zero-tolerance”

  1. Eleanor Johnstone!!

  2. This is an extremely sad situation, I really feel sorry for Rasheed's family.

    This is what I am thinking.

    Is this a struggle for freedom for all Dhivehin, or is it a struggle for revenge, for a need for power born from fear of violence!

    Democracy, liberty, freedom are terms which hook us moronic idealistic Westerners in.

    'Marie' is right about the propaganda part. Why do us Westerners in particular, myself more than anybody, so stupidly buy the lies, the half truths, from BOTH sides of this struggle?

    Do we arrogantly assume that our Western style of liberal democracy works everywhere simply because we are naive, ethnocentric?

    Politicians, Maldivians in general, in fact, live in a cultural environment of 'amorality.' The need to be feared, the need for power to protect oneself and ones family from violent retribution in a climate of violence is overwhelming. Survival is paramount when politicians, powerbrokers live in fear of violence.

    This reality was revealed to me by a very powerful Maldivian poitician, by the way.

    In such a climate, it would be suicide not to bribe corrupt ppl to support you, financially, socially, politically. But giving these powerbrokers more power will only increase their greed, their tendency for violence.

    If you cannot threaten your people into supporting you, or if you cannot buy them, you gain the support of your own folk by exploiting their religious idealism, or their hunger for freedom from religion!

    You create gangs, you create power hungry monsters, you feed hunger for violence, and you produce insatiable greed, and in so doing teach your ppl that any means to the end of power are ok!

    You do ALL this believing that once you have absolute power, you can then promote love, freedom, love, equality, safety, and justice for all (in your case through a fusion of Islamic and Liberal Democratic ideals) yet you can't
    see that the monster you are creating in your struggle to promote such beauty is destroying, will destroy any hope of anybody realizing these ideals. Yet you feel trapped, because, if its not them to be tortured, its you!

    My opinion is, some people have to live out courageous acts of self sacrificial morality in their lives to produce a good society bottom up, through inspiration bottom up. A top down implementation of your ideals is an absolute impossibility! Politics is a futile endeavour if you are in it for ideals, it is only rewarding if you only want power at the expense ofthe suffering of your people.

    This goes with religion to. Maumoon wishes to promote Islamic Rahman between all Maldivians! A BEAUTIFUL ideal I must say! Who would not want the paradise he envisages! However, it is a paradise which can never be implemented top down, Maumoon's fatal flaw is believing he can create unity and love between Maldivians through the acquisition of power! Yet, it is a futile, counter productive exercise to attempt to implement religious ideals from a place of power! To get power, you have to betray all your ideals, actions teach louder than words!

    Yes, religion and politics is united everywhere, they use each other and degrade each other in the most liberal countries even! Even in America, the land of the "free" religion degrades itself by being used by power brokers!

    But in a state where the ppl are not forced into a religion through direct violence, at least, there will still be those who live by the ideals of religious freedom and religious separation from politics, and can in so doing promote morality and love between their people bottom up, from the place of relative powerlessness, the only place from which genuine love can be shared!

  3. Sorry, it does not matter how you try and package this, if you want a fair independent justice system he has to go.

    @ Marie, WHY DO YOU ALWAYS WRITE IN BLOCK CAPITALS?????? To try and emphasize I suspect. It does not work after the first 200 times.
    If you can not handle change, you can not survive in the future, Fact!

  4. The plight of Rasheed demonstrates that the former regime will go to any length to "preserve" themselves. Of course we know that. Using shit-for-a-brain idiots like Umar Naseer is proof of that fact.

    These demonstrations on the streets of Male are nothing but a war to keep the old guards' secrets under lock and key. The judiciary has been doing a steller job of that till now. For example, where is Abdulla Hameed's arrest warrant? Why did "Judge" Abdulla Mohammed fail to issue one? Was Abdulla Mohammed threatened with fire-bombing of his house as well? Was he blackmailed?

    What's happening in the Maldives is not unlike that of Egypt after Mubarek. The parallel between the Egyptian military and the Maldivian judiciary is remarkable. Both are hell bent on protecting the ousted regime of their respective countries. Both remain largely intact following the fall of the previous regimes.

  5. how can the judiciary demand respect from the people while they fail to explain a single reason why they deserve respect, other than the black and white lines that is written in the constitution?? the judiciary is being run as their own corner-shop. the judiciary and the JSC is controlled by a few individuals from the previous regime. Yamin and a few of his cronies have control over judiciary through a few, but very powerful judges and jsc members. these people intern want to maintain their grip by disallowing good judges being hired. among the 50 or so applicants, their are individuals who has outstanding qualifications received from good universities.. masters degrees.. but the JSC shortlisted only those who have completed a three year part time course in Maldives, that too in local language.. the JSC hires only those judges who give their allegiance to them.. That is exactly what they did when they selected judges for High court.. so you tell me, do still have to respect a bunch of boorish uneducated clowns, clothed with long black robes pretending to be learned judges, just because the constitution says so??

  6. I'm sorry Kharlues, but yes!

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

    We have to respect their authority because the Constitution says so. Because we all agreed that the Constitution is supreme.

    Whether we personally respect certain judges as individuals is another matter altogether. We cannot take to the streets and bay for their blood. We made that Constitution and whatever protection is afforded to them must remain for the Constitution to be effective.

    The systems in place to remove judges or amend the Constitution are there. It is popular politics that is destroying this country. It is an over-ambitious Constitution that was ratified without proper thought for our financial and human resources in implementing it that is making us go nuts. It is the personal rivalry between the ruling clique and their sworn enemies in the opposition that is destroying all hope to sustain our judiciary.

    Now the UN is sending a political team to mediate the political deadlock in our nation. What we see on the streets is a political problem. Not simply a disagreement over the direction of reform.

  7. Zero tolearnce, I agree! Violence must be nipped in the bud, and that bud is...HATE SPEECH! I believe hate speech (especially HATE speech presented through Islamic terminolgy)should be prosecuted.

    The term Freedom is used to express many different and often conflicting things in Western Political philsosophy. (A left wing use of freedom attempts to restrict the freedoms of the capitalists and vice versa!) Yet until socialism, freedom never meant licence to promote violence, as to do so would be a violation of higher freedoms, freedom to life, liberty and property (Locke.)

    Locke applied freedom to freedom from tyrannical Kings, freedom from religious oppression, Adam Smith applied freedom to freedom from mercantilist tarrifs and trade restrictions. Even JS MILL condemned speech which promoted violence, in On Liberty THAT is where he drew the line.

    THAT is where the line must be drawn!

  8. remove Sat, 4th Feb 2012 9:56 AM
    above, I meant...

    One last clarification on my above thoughts, sorry, then I will give minivan a rest for a few weeks…

    Amorality is something very diferent from immorality, as an amoralist would always strive to put on a righteouss mask. It is the use of morality towards the end of power.

    I believe all should strive to live by a deontologically determined code of ethical behaviour (such as the Kantian categorical Imperative) rather than a slip shod, open to abuse consequalist code of ethics (utilatarianism) which very rapidly loses any ethical content.

    However, I know that to gain power in this world, and to hold power, you cannot be true to a deontological moral ethic such as the ideals of Islam or the ideals of liberal democracy. Anni’s ideals of liberty and freedom from fear are beatiful, as are Maumoon’s ideals. Yet if they were to be true to these ideals, they would both be committing political suicide.

    Yet we need a political structure and social ideals to give our social structure a semiotic glue, hence we are faced with an existential paradox. We are being pressed to strive for ideals we can not only never realize, but are sure to destroy them completely in our attempts to realize them. Yet nature makes us strive for them?

    There has to be a reason for this!~

  9. This one time I was on the vilingili ferry and I was just oh so sick of life so I jumped in the ocean. I felt good at first but I felt like a retard when the coastguard had to pick me out of the water

  10. @Ben ole wright: Everybody knows that story. I myself wrote about it online on this and Hilath's blog and many ppl wittnessed it. Only a fucking monkey would think this was something I should be ashamed of. I was not suicidal I was ANGRY! I was not rescued, I can swim, thankyou very much,

    I am only deeply deeply sorry towards my Brother in Law, towards my Wife's Dhontha, towards my Maldivian Family in Villinghilli for causing them shame.


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