Police summoned Gassan Maumoon, son of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, for questioning today concerning disturbances outside his residence Endherimaage on Thursday during a protest by the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).
A 17-year-old boy was struck on the head with a wooden plank allegedly thrown from Endherimaage while protesters led by MDP MPs, councillors and senior members were marching by the former President’s residence.
Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam told Minivan News today that Gassan was among a number of people police were questioning regarding Thursday’s events.
Police were investigating complaints of damage caused to the former President’s property as well as the injury caused to the 17-year-old, Shiyam explained.
Police had received information that suggests the wooden plank that injured the 17-year-old was hurled or dropped from the building, he said.
However, said Shiyam, police could not divulge further details at this stage of the investigation.
Minivan News journalists at the scene on Thursday observed gravel, stones, hot water and sharp metals raining down on the protesters from Endherimaage. A number of reporters at the scene were also hit by the pouring gravel.
Several MDP activists claimed that the wooden plank was hurled from the second floor balcony of Endherimaage. After the victim was rushed to hospital by MPs on the front line of the march, MDP activists clashed with Gayoom supporters blocking the entrance to Endherimaage and threw stones at the building, smashing a window on the first floor.
MP Ali Waheed, who defected to the ruling party in May, told state broadcaster MNBC that the boy was behind MP Alhan Fahmy when the object struck him straight on the head.
The 17-year-old, identified as Hussein Hassan, was rushed to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) by the MPs on a passing pick-up, he said.
Speaking to MNBC One outside IGMH, Waheed displayed blood stains on his shirt resulting from the head injury caused by the impact.
Other eyewitnesses who spoke to the state broadcaster corroborated the MPs’ account of the incident.
The brother of the injured boy told Minivan News Thursday night that according to doctors “his skull was damaged and parts of the skull have gone inside his brain.”
The boy underwent surgery to remove wood particles from his brain.
IGMH media coordinator confirmed today that the boy was conscious and his “condition is now stable.”
A family member outside the ICU told Minivan News that the family was certain the object that struck Hussein Hassan “came from above.”
“Everyone who was there said that that was how it happened,” he said.
Right to remain silent
Gassan Maumoon meanwhile told reporters outside police headquarters this afternoon that he exercised the right to remain silent after “it appeared from some of their questions that they were accusing me.”
Gassan was accompanied by the former President’s lawyer Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim ‘Wadde’ and former Attorney General Aishath Azima Shukoor.
The former President’s newly-formed Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) held a protest at artificial beach last night in response to the ruling party’s “intimidation of judges.”
Hundreds of supporters participated in the protest, where they called for the resignation of Chief of Defence Forces Moosa Jaleel and Police Commissioner Ahmed Faseeh for failing to provide security to the former President.
Asked by MP Ilham Ahmed if they should march to the presidential residence Muleeage, the protesters unanimously supported the notion.
PPM Interim Council Member Umar Naseer – former deputy leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party – however announced around 10:45pm that the protest march was to be cancelled after police sent a summons to Gassan.
Meanwhile, after text messages were circulated on Friday claiming the PPM was preparing to attack and “smash Haruge [MDP camp],” a large number of ruling party supporters gathered at Haruge for a hastily arranged rally at 9pm last night.
Speakers at the rally, including Presidential Commission Spokesperson Abdulla Haseen, President’s Advisor Ibrahim ‘Ibra’ Ismail, MP Ahmed Easa and former Attorney General Dr Ahmed Ali Sawad, severely criticised the judiciary for lack of competence and integrity.
An egg was thrown into Haruge during Ibra’s speech.
In an interview with private broadcaster DhiTV shortly after Thursday’s protest turned violent, Gayoom claimed that damage was caused to his residence and adjoining houses in “a terrorist attack” orchestrated by the government.
“They came with their activists and attacked my home,” Gayoom said. “They attacked nearby houses as well.”
Moosa Jaleel and Ahmed Faseeh should “personally bear responsibility” for the damage to his residence because riot police were not present to intercede, the PPM figurehead said.
Appearing on private broadcaster VTV later that night, Gayoom said he would file criminal complaints with police, the Prosecutor General and pursue civil action against the protesters.