Eight gangsters threaten MDP protesters with knives, vandalise lorry and speaker systems

Eight gangsters wielding knives threatened opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members and vandalised the party’s lorry and speaker systems ahead of a protest last night.

Eyewitnesses told Minivan News, eight young men allegedly belonging to Malé’s gangs, charged into a group of 20 protesters with knives at around 9:00pm, threatened them and shattered the windows of a lorry and speaker systems that were to be used for the night’s protests.

The gangsters shouted, “You cannot do this, this is our country too!”

The MDP has held daily protests since February 10, first against President Abdulla Yameen’s alleged constitutional violations and later against the arrest of former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in jail for terrorism on March 13. The MDP has since pledged to launch a national civil disobedience campaign to free the party’s leader.

Speaking to Minivan News, MDP member Aisha Hussain Rasheed said the group threatened former MP Ibrahim “Bonda” Rasheed with a knife, telling him to stay back as they shattered the windows of the lorry carrying the sound system.

An MDP member took a picture of the gangsters, but they chased him down, took his camera from him and broke it.

A police van arrived on the scene, and police arrested one of the attackers, Aisha said.

“We told the police, please protect us, we are also Maldivian citizens. This is your country too, why won’t you do anything? The police, however said, ‘What are we supposed to do?’ Then they left,” she said.

Another eyewitness said a forensic team came ten minutes later and took pictures.


A police media official declined to comment on the incident, but said no arrests were made last night.

The MDP issued a statement today condemning the police’s inaction, noting the attacks happened in public and were documented through photos and videos.

“The police are obliged by law to protect peaceful protesters. We note with great concern that police have failed to take action even as such groups continue to repeatedly attack MDP protests and destroy our property,” the statement said.

A group of young men had attacked MDP protesters on February 27, and cut off opposition-aligned Raajje TV’s live feed. Protesters on March 13 also reported that a group of young men threatened MDP supporters with box cutters and threw crude oil on protesters.

The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) has also held numerous rallies in support of the government and calling for a speedy sentence in Nasheed’s terrorism trial.

The opposition has alleged hundreds of Malé’s gangsters attend the government rallies, a claim the PPM has denied.

Minivan News has observed several young men who had been charged with murder at the front lines of pro-government rallies on March 7 and February 19. Three young men seen in the front-lines of PPM bike rally on March 7 included one charged with the murder of 15-year-old Ahmed Shaneed in 2008 and two charged with the 2012 murder of 33-year-old Ali Shifan. They were all acquitted by the Criminal Court.

Speaking after the rally, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb called on the opposition to stop its nightly protests.

“Don’t make us take to the streets. These are Malé City’s youth. This is a very strong crowd. If these young men get angry it would not be good. That’s why we are with these young men in their homes. We are people who love peace, so don’t make us come out to the street,” Adeeb warned, according to Sun Online.

“We won’t give him [President Nasheed] anymore chances. You [the opposition] will also have to go home. Then we will also quietly stay home,” he added.

MDP subsequently condemned Adeeb’s speech and accused him of threatening the opposition with violence.

“MDP is alarmed by the threats of violence against opposition protesters, made by senior members of President Yameen’s administration,” a statement issued by the party on March 8 read.

“This is a desperate and dangerous escalation of the current crisis by the government. President Yameen’s administration is baring its fangs,” spokesperson for MDP, Hamid Abdul Gafoor said at the time.

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Young men carrying box cutters attack protestors demanding free water

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.


Expatriate stabbed during daytime attack in Male’

A 42 year-old Bangladesh national has been stabbed during an attack in the carnival area of Male’ yesterday afternoon (September 30), police have said.

The foreign national was taken to ADK hospital for treatment to a “long cut” sustained from their left shoulder to their chest, after they were assaulted with a sharp object at approximately 3:55pm yesterday.

Police have said investigations into the case are ongoing.


MNDF corporal praised for bravery

The MNDF have congratulated corporal Mohamed Vishal of the Marine Corps for his initiative and bravery, after saving a man from a gang attack in December.

At round 9.30 pm on 10 December, Hassan Rasheed Abdullah, assistant director of the drug rehabilitation centre, was attacked by a group wielding box cutters and sustained many injuries.

According to MNDF, Vishal overcame many obstacles and took Rasheed to the IGMH hospital on his motorbike.

In recognition of his efforts, the Maldives police service had passed on a message of thank to Corporal Vishal.