A group carrying box cutters on Tuesday attacked protestors demanding free water in Malé.
Minivan News observed five young men run into the a group of protestors at the junction of Sosun Magu and Medhuziyarai Magu at 10:00 pm, jump onto a truck carrying speakers and vandalize the generator and speakers system.
The protesters were calling on the government to provide free water and reverse its decision to only deduct 30 percent from water bills as Malé’s water crisis enters it’s seventh day.
After vandalizing the speaker system, the attackers ran into the crowd attacking everyone in their path. An elderly woman was punched and thrown to the ground and an elderly man was hit in the face. He suffered a cut to the head.
The woman was immediately taken to the Maldives Red Crescent water crisis headquarters at Majeeedhihyaa School for immediate treatment. She was later transferred to ADK Hospital along with the elderly man for further treatment.
Police officers and some protesters chased the attackers. Police arrested two, while angry protesters caught one more and beat him up severely. The police had to carry the attacker away.
A police media official told Minivan News the three arrested last night are all under eighteen. Two have since been released.
A police officer also sustained injuries to his mouth and nose as he attempted to arrest the attackers.
Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Youth Wing President and senior organizer of the protests, Mohamed Azmeel, said between six and seven gangsters armed with box cutter blades initiated the attack. Minivan News saw the blades on the street after the police arrested three of the attackers.
One protestor told Minivan News that he saw the attackers videoing those who spoke at the protest in order to target key protestors before they attacked
Gangsters also vandalized placards used in the free water protest on the previous night (Decemeber 8).
Azmeel said the rally will continue tonight.
Meanwhile, gang involvement has been speculated behind the torching of the MDP main office on September 29 using molotov cocktails after it was also vandalized on September 24.
Early October, an MDP office in Addu City was torched while masked men wielding wooden planks and batons attacked a party rally. 16 people were arrested that night however the police released nine of them the following day.