MPs tried to release MDP protester, claims DRP

The Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has accused Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs of interfering in police handling of MDP activists during a protest outside parliament on 30 December.

DRP and MDP protesters squared off outside parliament in response to the contentious decentralisation bill, debate over which had stalled four times.

The DRP claims MDP MPs Eva Abdullah, Mariya Didi and Mohamed Mustafa approached riot police and asked them to release an MDP activist who was being manhandled.

DRP MP Ahmed Mahlouf said he was close to the gate when Mariya and Mustafa allegedly asked police to release the activist.

Police restrain protesters outside parliament
Police restrain protesters outside parliament

“I’m not somebody who spouts rubbish. I saw this with my own eyes along with my colleagues,” he said.

“Police said [the activist] had attacked them and that is why he was handcuffed. The police are an independent body and should only be given orders by the police commissioner, not the president or the chairperson of the MDP,” Mahlouf said, adding that he would be filing a case with the police integrity commission.

Asked for her version of events, Eva replied that the MDP MPs “were just trying to find out what was going on.”

“A group of MDP activists outside brought a megaphone with them,” she said. “Police tried to disperse them and there was some kind of skirmish. I was looking on when police tried to get a bit physically tough on them and one of my constituents was hit and fell.”

The police did not respond to her, she said.

“If you look at the police records he was detained for several hours, so reports he was released are not true.

“We were not involved, we were just standing there during the Majlis break. We know what police brutality is like and went to see what was happening before it could get out of hand.”

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) released a statement claiming that rumours of police releasing protesters on the request of MDP MPs were incorrect, adding that such claims “undermine the trust people have in the police” and “should not be made for political gain”.

Videos aired on DhiTV appeared to show the three MDP MPs communicating with the police officers.


Independent MP Mohamed Nasheed claimed that MDP had astroturfed the protest and that furthermore, MP interference with police work was nothing new.

“This is the third time the MDP have engineered a protest outside parliament,” he said. “The first was the bill over benefits to previous presidents, the second was the no confidence vote against the foreign minister and the third was this decentralisation bill. They are very organised and bring loudspeakers and umbrellas. The modus operadi is for MDP MPs to meet the protesters and brief them on what to say and how to do it. It’s a very normal thing for MDP; I’ve seen senior MDP members making calls to the police at the station asking for the removal of barriers. On occasions when the barriers have been removed, [MPs] haven’t even been enable to leave to go to lunch – it’s not a good idea to walk through a mob.”

MPs watch the protests from behind the gates of the Majlis
MPs watch the protests from behind the gates of the Majlis

Eva claimed there was no need for MDP MPs to engineer protests “as protesting is grassroots MDP and the activism in the party is still quite strong.”

“The MDP created space for peaceful protests in this country – we put the concept in the Maldivian vocabulary,” she said.

Nasheed said he did not personally witness the MDP MPs interaction with police during the latest protest, “all the MPs were talking about how Mariya had intervened with a protester being taken away. I don’t think it is becoming of MDP to interefere with police discharging their duties.”

The DRP had exploited the situation very effectively, he noted.

“I think they already had the video. Mahlouf spoke about it to the media and the following day, probably on instructions from higher ups under intense pressure, the police issued a statement denying [they had released the activist on MP request). The video was not released initially because [the intention] was to trap police. They fell into it and now it’s obvious to everyone – I think it’s sad it happened.”


7 thoughts on “MPs tried to release MDP protester, claims DRP”

  1. They don't like it when they have to taste their own medicine now, do they?. I guess they forgot how they used to get their friends out of police custody in the old days.

    The President has full authority to pull in some tanks and blast the DRP stragglers in parliament to oblivion.

    I voted for him to end the DRP's long standing deathgrip on Maldives.

  2. First DRP accuses President of campaigning for MDP candidates for parliament. Now they complain that MDP MPs want their party members looked after. When are they going to learn Maldives now have a political party system? It also has independent institutions. MPs cannot 'order' police to release anyone - not anymore than I can order Mahlouf to step aside so a decent fellow can takeup his place. They can say whatever they want to police and media is there to report and public is there to judge. It is not a legal issue.

  3. "if only Maldivian police force could arrest drug traffickers, robbers, gangs , the way they arrest peaceful protesters" we'll would have been a very peaceful country, the thing is there are some senior police officers who wants to see this new government as a joke , sad thing is our commissioner of police with all these knowledge keeps and gives them good titles and positions in order to harass the general public, where by public will loose trust on MDP government .. thank you good thing that president decided to reform and restructure the police force before it's too late

  4. I do not see how this whole issue of 3 MPs alleged intervention with police becomes a news item in the first place.

    Does the media have to make a story every time a half grown MP moans, grumbles and squabbles?

    First, Mustafa allegedly threw an ashtray and next a court case...

    Now this!

    Police has to defend themselves and what they are sent to defend. Nowhere in the world will riot police caress protesters and give them lollipops to stay behind the police line.

    I don't see why an MP or even an ordinary person could not intervene a situation where they feel police is putting brutal force on someone.

  5. Independent MP Mohamed Nasheed? Thats a laugh! How is he independent? You should rather refer to him as ex-Information Minister of DRP government

    And his job as was any other information minister's was to control information flow and spread government propaganda.

    Remember Iraqi Al-Sahaf. Would you trust him to be independent.

  6. Talking of MP's: after watching some of our MP's debate on Q&A with Migdad (You tube version), I was shocked and appaled how childish and immature some of our MP's are, namely that chap called Nihan, Mahlouf was on and off but appeared to be ok ish in that debate.
    I just couldn't understand why someone would behave like that if they intend to pursue a political career, I would like to think that it is important how you portray yourself in the public domain, this includes one's language, tone and even demeanour.

    Perhaps I'm out of touch with the "Maldivian way" apologies if that's the case.
    Whatever the case, Kudos to Suood & Hamza remained calm and proffesional through out.

  7. Mps did the right thing my questioning the police about manhandling protesters, gone are the time when DRP Mps can come out of the chamber and say to the police "arrest them all, handcuff them and torture them till they stop giving us trouble..


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