Three police officers were attacked on Tuesday night and Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hassan’s car was damaged, police have reported.
The three separate incidents took place within hours of each other around Nalahiya Hotel in Malé’s Maafannu ward. The three policemen sustained severe injuries which required hospital treatment, while the tail lights of Faiz’s car were smashed, according to police. Three men are also alleged to have entered a policeman’s house with knives on Wednesday.
Police spokesperson Hassan Haneef said 13 people have now been arrested over attacks on the police, but no arrests have been made so far regarding the vandalism of Faiz’s car.
The attack on Faiz’s car is the second attack on a Supreme Court judge’s car this week. Judicial Services Commission (JSC) chair and Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla’s car was attacked on Friday.
The situation remains tense between opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters and the security forces, as well as the judiciary. The February 7 transfer of power, which MDP alleges was a coup d’état, took place after security forces mutinied following former President Mohamed Nasheed’s military detention of Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January.
President Waheed alleged on Twitter that Nasheed’s supporters were behind the violence: “Violence by Nasheed’s supporters keeps increasing,” he wrote.
Violence Against Police
The attacks on the police and chief justice’s car follow Monday’s violent confrontations between security forces and protestors who sought to obstruct Waheed from delivering a constitutionally-mandated address at the Majlis’ opening session – a second attempt after the first failed on March 1. Protestors claimed Waheed’s presence in the Majlis violates the institution’s integrity.
Police arrested 99 and said eight law enforcement officers were injured in Monday’s clashes. Police subsequently cleared out MDP’s protest camp at Raalhugandu (Surf Point) on the same day.
Superintendent Ahmed Mohamed said Tuesday’s assault on police took place while police were patrolling the streets of Malé. Two police officers were stopped by a crowd near Nalahiya Hotel at 11:30 pm, he said. One sustained injuries to the head while the other policewoman was hit on her chest and sexually harassed, claimed Mohamed.
The third police officer was also attacked near Nalahiya Hotel at 12:40 am. Mohamed appealed to the public to stop inciting violence against police at a press conference on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, posts on social media Twitter reveal a more complex picture of violence at Nalahiya Hotel. One photo shows a man with head injuries allegedly cause by police, and the other shows a man with extensive bruising on his upper arm. The third photo shows a policeman wielding a baton holding a crouching young man. The young man’s shirt is pulled over his face.
Superintendent Ahmed Mohamed said youth were involved in violence, and appealed to them to “take up responsible jobs instead of taking part in atrocities.”
Faiz’s car was damaged on Tuesday night by protestors gathered at the Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim’s house at 11:45 pm. Faiz was not in the car at the time.
Adam Mohamed’s car was also attacked by protestors after Friday prayers. Adam Mohamed and his child were in the car, but were not injured, reported local media.
The Supreme Court released a statement on Monday condemning attacks on judges and court buildings. It highlighted three separate attacks on judges, including that on Adam Mohamed, since January.
The other two incidents include a physical assault on Fuvahmula magistrate Ahmed Latheef in Fuvahmulah Island on March 8 and an attack on an unnamed judge on January 20.
The statement also condemned the torching of court buildings during the February 8 unrest in the atolls following police attack on MDP protesters in Malé.
“These attacks are aimed to cause irretrievable loss to justice system and to intimidate all working within the justice system,” the statement read.