Women’s Day march ends in confrontation

A march to celebrate International Women’s Day ended in confrontations with police on Thursday night in Male.

After the march’s intended route past the Presidential Palace and the People’s Majlis was blocked by police barricades, a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) contingent refused to disperse.

Around 200 women staged a sit down protest outside the Majeediyya School until well into the evening, with a further 100 outside the nearby Bank of Maldives (BML) main branch.

Banners calling for the resignation of President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan, and banners in support of former President Mohamed Nasheed were held aloft. Over loudspeakers, the voices of protesters denounced the police for blocking what they insisted was a legal right of way.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam stated that the area around the Police Headquarters, the Presidential Palace, and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Headquarters were protected against such demonstrations.

Regulations dating from previous administrations prohibit the entry of large groups of people into the area in question, reported Shiyam. An opposition protest outside MNDF headquarters, assisted by elements of the police, led to the resignation of former President Mohamed Nasheed, allegedly “under duress”.

People were able to move freely into and out of the area, from multiple locations, past solitary watchmen on the eastern sides of the security zone.

Noorban Fahmy of the MDP Women’s Wing assisted in organising the sit-down protest on the outskirts of the security zone: “We were marching in protest of violence against women and in celebration of International Women’s Day,” she said.

Fahmy insisted that this was the predominant aim of the initial march which was attended by women of all political affiliations.

Gender issues in the Maldives

Domestic violence is a well-documented issue in the Maldives. In 2010, a ground-breaking study conducted by the Ministry of Gender and Family reported that 1 in 3 women between the ages of 15-49 had suffered some form of physical or sexual violence during their lifetime.

Whilst acknowledging that these levels are relatively low by global standards, the report drew strong associations between such violence and mental, and physical (including reproductive) ill-health.

The issue of violence against women and the recent political unrest were combined earlier in the week as security forces turned high powered hoses on women who had gathered outside the President’s Palace on March 6.

The drenched women, who demonstrated within the prohibited security zone, were then forcibly removed by security personnel. No such incidents were reported on Thursday.

Thursday’s protesters were accompanied by some men “for the women’s security”, Fahmy told Minivan News. The area immediately in front of the police cordon outside of the People’s Majlis was reserved for women exclusively during the sit-down.

In order to maintain the spirit of the Women’s Day march, men were politely requested to stand back. After this part of the protest ended and the women headed back to the Raalhugandu area, some men remained to talk to the security representatives manning the cordon.

It has been reported that at this stage, around nine in the evening, students from Majeediyya School emerged to complain about the noise, arguing their right to an undisrupted education.

The disapproval of the students has been disputed by an eye witness, as has the likelihood of their presence in the building at such a late hour.

The women’s MDP supporters eventually relented, returning to the MDP camp in the Raalhugandu area at around 8:30pm after a brief demonstration outside the headquarters of Villa Television (VTV) where they chanted ‘traitor TV’ to staff members.

The VTV station is part of the Villa Group, the Maldives’ largest private company, owned by Jumhooree Party MP Gasim Ibrahim. The Jumhooree Party formed a prominent component of the December 23 coalition which lobbied for the removal of former President Mohamed Nasheed.


13 thoughts on “Women’s Day march ends in confrontation”

  1. It was funny, when considering the immense number of problems facing women in our society, all the participants were shouting were "Baagee waheed resign", and were not highlighting any of the issues facing women in the Maldives today like reproductive health, lack of job opportunities for single mothers, high rate of divorce, domestic violence in homes etc. Funny people Maldivians eh ?

  2. MDP is a party which controled by thugs such as Mariya, Rekko Moosa and full of drunks

  3. Women of the Maldives have always stood up to their beliefs. It is refreshing to see this march. Of course those who support baaghee waheed will not be able to stomach this. The women are protesting at the most pressing issue according to them. There is nothing funny about that.

  4. OMG lol
    The MNDF Headquarter are protected from non-combatant woman!!! One question to S.I of police Ahmed Shiyam "Was'nt the MNDF Head Quarters protected when some policemen attacked it in broad day light on Feb 08th?" These maniacs thinks Maldivians are so stupid!! Bring the mutiny police infront of justice or let the citizens of this nation decide what can be done to them..... No peace to you guys unless this matter is settled....Maldivians are not that hard hearted... They will forgive their misdeeds if they are willing to admit it.....

  5. My Dear "Citizen", you obviously fancy yourself as representative of the people. However you appear far from the paradigm shift needed to comprehend democratic rules of engagement in power transfer. My little citizen...the rules changed three years back in 2008. These days we need you to vote to get these things done. Maldivian Women realize their are no rights to be had as long as this country is managed by Baaghees who are "governing" through force and repression. And where in the Maldives are you from. Maybe this whole thing did not reach your little island world! Remember..."look past your nose"...and "rashuge asdhadin beyru". You have not been reading too much these days my dear little citizen.

  6. Ahmed Naseem, Ex foreign minister said to BBC after resignation of Nasheed, that Nasheed's government has been brought down by the estremist Islamists. He further added saying that two years ago there were few women wearrng burka but now we see almost every women is wearing a burka. Funny huh. I saw most of the women who protested for MDP in this womens rally were wearing burka. Which means MDP itself is an extreme Islamist party then. What goes around comes around. MDP politicians, what a bunch of jokers.

  7. jus because anni's forefathers were baaghees,waheed n co dint have to become baaghees,we don't need the lot ,till we elect another president the baaghees can get lost!!

  8. The reporter should have quoted a source from the schools because obviously because it was a thursday after official school hours. Who would be in the schools? Lies lies lies

  9. Of course it ended in confrontation! For how long must our poor Nation be subjected to the shrill voices and insane ramblings of women!? Our patience is at an end.

    The Ayatullah Khomeini, may his name ever be praised, would have garrotted the feminists on the spot! He certainly did not intend to allow the female of our species to participate in politics.

    Consider my friends, if being deficient in intelligence and good sense were not reason enough to bar them from a discourse that should be the exclusive domain of men, who, by dint of our calculating rationality and strength, are better equipped to discuss contentious civic affairs, the emotional and infantile mind of the woman will be exposed to crude forms of arguing and debate. This will only disrupt the ideal dynamic of the home pertainining to the relationship of the female to husband and father. No good can come of it!

    Does not the husband have the right to discipline his wife for her transgressions and unvirtue, and make demands of her to fulfil the obligations incumbent upon all beleiving women - that is, to cook and clean the house, give birth to and raise virtuous children - without being subjected to shrill, hysterical rantings about politics, and legal rights that are, in any case, beyond the understanding of women and children?

    If this is allowed to continue, I foresee a day when our women shall make most unsuitable mothers and will become eminently undesirable breeding mates; some of them might even turn butch and muscular and start pummelling us. Who knows what these man-haters are capable of!?

    In any case, what kind of offspring will they produce!? Think fellow citizen! Think! There is good reason that even the infidel Athenians exempted their women from the vote, despite Greece being the birthplace of "demo-crazy". It will serve to corrupt them, and make them disobedient! SubhaanAllah!

  10. Dhivehi Hanguraama : Could you cut the crap, you are an obvious fake and we can tell you dont believe a word you are saying. I accuse you of inciting hatred.

  11. Mr. Naseem thinks 'buruka' is extremist? HAH thats means 90% of Muslim women in the world are extremist. Shame on you. You have a pretty wife and lovely daugthers so are the rest of Maldivian womens. (although they wear burka or not) Pls Mr. Naseem be respectfull to our wonderfull women of Maldives.

  12. Burkha should be discouraged . Burkha means female slavery. Govt should not dictate what clothes men and women should wear. Educated women of the country should unite and throw away the male bondage. Polygamy should be outlawed. Country lacks visionary leadership that will move you into 21st century, you seemed to stuck into 7th century. Even most commenters here are brained washed by Islam!


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