The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) celebrated their eighth anniversary with thousands of people participating in last night’s march and spectators lining the streets of the capital.
The excitement was palpable as thousands came out of their neighborhoods, crammed the sidewalks and climbed on top of any available structures to watch the parade spectacle and take photos. Countless people were seen waving and shouting from their windows and balconies as the anniversary parade circled around Male’.
MDP has claimed upwards of 15,000 parade participants – some social media estimates were upwards of 20,000 – took part in the event. Minivan News observed the protest parade stretching the entire length and width of the nearly two kilometre long thoroughfare of Majeedhee Magu.
Protesters represented a variety of demographics including children, youth, the elderly, disabled, women and men, organised into groups, some carrying giant MDP flags, while others waved yellow ribbons, fans or pom poms.
Groups of women were twirling yellow umbrellas adorned with frangipani flowers (the party’s symbol) or carrying signs with the slogan ‘ehburun’ (meaning a one round victory). Some young men played volleyball while others in the parade drummed a festive beat.
Women and men alike were shaking yellow pom-poms and dancing in the streets to music remixing dance beats with phrases from former President Mohamed Nasheed’s speeches.
The Dhivehi lyrics translated to “MDP is a ship for all seas, This party is not going to sink, We will not fade away, You can arrest us, jail us and kill us but MDP’s ‘fikuru’ (ideology) can no longer be eradicated/wiped out from the Maldives”.
Countless parade participants, including port workers, were also adorned with yellow construction hats, while two young men wore milk and banana costumes in recognition of a previous Nasheed speech in which he discussed the importance of child nutrition, and pledged to ensure every school child had a suitable breakfast.
There were constant chants of ‘ehburun’ by the parade participants and crowds lining the main thoroughfares of Male’ that comprised the parade route. The parade ended at ‘Usfasgandu’, MDP’s protest area located near the Tsunami Monument, where applause and shouts from thousands of supporters could be heard echoing through the streets as members cut the party’s birthday cake.
Introducing multi-party democracy
“The MDP was the first political party to be registered eight years ago – we are the largest and oldest party – and we are built on people’s hopes,” MDP’s Youth Wing President Aminath Shauna told Minivan News.
“We wanted to celebrate that and show the people’s strength, which we definitely saw last night. The parade was a way to show that while we are a political party committed to political reform and social change, we can still have fun,” said Shauna.
“We wanted to make it very colorful and an opportunity for all kinds of people to participate, and they did, children, youths, mothers and fathers, as well as elderly MDP supporters, the parade had activities for everyone,” she continued.
“There hasn’t been an event like this – not at night with all the lights and music – since MDP’s February 17, 2012 rally, and that was more of a spontaneous protest,” she explained.
“The MDP has consistently had large numbers of people’s support and participation, but this event was by far the most comprehensive.”
“There was not a single spot empty on the sidewalks and people were cheering and waving from their windows and balconies. At least 15,000 people were out in support of the parade in Male’ alone,” she claimed.
“I have not seen that many people come out and even watch Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) parades on Majeedhee Magu. There is a huge strong base of support in the islands as well, even in the UK Maldivians living abroad celebrated, social media is showing the quite broad spectrum of MDP supporters,” said Shauna.
“This event was significant because MDP is so young. I don’t think any country would see a ‘people’s party’ come out of nowhere – based on sheer public support – and be able to maintain a peaceful stance after so much brutality and injustice,” MDP MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor told Minivan News.
“It’s also significant that MDP’s eighth birthday coincides with the [upcoming] elections.”
“On MDP’s eighth birthday what we are seeing is unprecedented. After eight years we are still completely the ‘people’s party’, which we’ve seen from the amount of public support,” Ghafoor continued.
“People came out all over the country to celebrate, even on small islands in the most unlikely places they had [MDP birthday] cakes and meetings, it’s incredible,” he said.
Former President Nasheed meanwhile tweeted on the occasion,
MDP’s strength is built on the hopes of the people. Congratulations to all supporters and members on the 8th Anniversary of MDP. #MDP8Yrs
— Mohamed Nasheed (@MohamedNasheed) June 26, 2013
14 thoughts on “Thousands rally in Male’ for MDP’s eighth anniversary and carnival parade”
Thousands? LOL. I was there at this so called mdp scum rally. There were only about six people. MDP are the least popular people ever in this country. Nasheed is going to jail and everyone will celebrate.
Well Yasir, i am not a supporter of Nasheed, but we all should accept the fact he will get the most votes as a single candidate on the upcoming elections..
Also i believe around 65% of the people of capital city Male' supports him.. as well huge support from other major Atolls as well Addu City..
But MDP's main support is coming only from the capital and few other large Islands.. as we can see on paper they have less than 50k members.. so they are no where close to win so called through "Ehburun"..
MDP definitely has the numbers at the moment, but they aren't going to win this in the first round. Sometimes, I have even felt like the only reason Gasim, Yaameen and Waheed are contesting is to split the votes just so that Nasheed won't win it.
Oh boy, the PPM maggots mustve gotten a heart attack, and they're here, acting like internet tough guys! 😀
Yasir perhaps you were on another island? Is the video also a fake?
i am MDP member. i really dont think Anni would win. i myself dont have intention to vote for anni as well. anni doenst have an economic plan for the country. it looks like that people around anni is a gang of wankers waiting desperately for anni to come back to power again. i think the best candidate at the moment is Dr.Waheedh Hassan Manki.
Even when one thousand people gather in any road in Male' it will look like millions of people.
Roads are so narrow and just few people on a picture will look like thousands.
But i agree, may be Fili Nasheed will have the most vote as a single candidate but the 70% of the people do not want this idiot to be our leader ever.
I guess sheez and kuribee must be victims of identity theft. 🙁
Kuribee for president!!!!
He's so proactive, never bases his statements on criticism of others. Has a solid plan for progression.
Vote Kuribee 2013.
i didn't know there was a parade until is read this article.
Amazing reading the comments from Yasir and Kuribee. A combinationation of plain lies, bullying and panic. The old regime back in power today!!! Not for long.
MDP are the only party with an economic plan that benefits the masses. They have a real future.
Just read the comments from the criminals in charge of the country today. They hate to see ordinary people united behind Anni.
Its a Birth Day Party ....
Comments are closed.