The Housing Ministry has asked the Male’ City Council to evacuate and hand over the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s protest site at Usfasgandu in Male within seven days.
The repeated demand comes a day after the High Court overturned a Civil Court order backing the government’s previous order that the land be handed over.
Speaking at a press conference held today, Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muiz said the council was not using the Usfasgandu site according to the government’s land use plan.
Muiz said the council has been sent a notice asking them to evacuate the land plot and if not the ministry will, in accordance to the law, evacuate the land plot and will not be responsible for any loss of property in the area.
Muiz also said that the government will not hesitate to take actions against any one in order to protect the interest of the citizens.
‘’Because of the way the Male’ City Council is using the land, it is not benefitting the people,’’ he said. ‘’So a notice have been sent in reference to the High Court order and Attorney General’s advice.’’
Muiz also said the ministry had received reports that Male’ City Council was ordering businessmen running food outlets and other businesses in the ‘Alimas Carnival’ area to vacate the area. He said the businessmen did not have to listen to what the council said because the Alimas Carnival area was no longer under the jurisdiction of the council.
‘’They can run their businesses unless the government ask them to leave the area,’’ he added.
The area was cordoned off by police late last month after the High Court issued a warrant requesting the area be kept under police custody until it reached a verdict on the case.
Male’ City Council leased the Usfasgandu area to the ousted ruling party in March 2012, prompting repeated attempts by the government to reclaim the area on the grounds it was being used for criminal activity, including the practice of black magic.
The MDP had moved to the area after a previous protest camp at the tsunami monument was dismantled and completely repainted by police and military on March 19, 2012.
On May 29, police raided the Usfasgandu site after obtaining a search warrant from the Criminal Court, ordering the MDP to vacate the area. The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) then began dismantling the protest camp.
The Housing Ministry filed a case with the Civil Court after MCC refused to hand the land plot to the ministry.