Ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has cancelled its protest, announced during last night’s MDP rally, because no opposition parties have announced plans to hold similar demonstrations.
MDP will instead hold a rally at 8:30 at Haruge this evening.
The MDP protest was announced as party members rallied last night in response to the demands made by leaders of the protest to “Defend Islam”, held yesterday by a coalition of opposition parties and religious NGOs at the Tsunami Monument area.
Demands of the government included removing SAARC monuments in Addu, four of which have been vandalised or stolen; condemning UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay for her comments about flogging as a penal response to extra-marital sex; denying Israeli airlines permission to operate flights to the Maldives; closing down Male’ brothels and reversing the decision to declare of inhabited islands uninhabited in order to permit alcohol sales.
As the night drew to a close, MDP party members issued statements claiming that they would march against the “Defend Islam” protest if it did not end by midnight.
The statement was respected, and aside from one protestor who was hassled as he passed MDP headquarters at Haruge on his way home, no confrontations occurred.
President’s Office Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair has said that although the government is unclear on which legal grounds and by which exact group the demands were made, the large public demonstration in support for these demands has prompted to government to give them due consideration, reports Haveeru.