Two Malé schools vandalized

Two schools in Malé were vandalized this week.

A group of people entered classrooms at Iskandhar School and Jamaluddin School on Monday and Tuesday night, respectively, and broke projectors and fans and sprayed paint on the walls, boards and desks.

“Someone tried to break a fan and a projector in one of the class room in the second floor, they would have done this late last night as we discovered what had happened only this morning,” said an official from Jamaaluddin school.

Police confirmed that security guards were present at the front gates of both schools at the time.

“But we cannot say it was due to their negligence, as there are other entrances where suspects could have used,” an official said.

No arrests have been made yet and the reason for the vandalism is unclear, police said.


Government accuses opposition of plotting May Day coup

The ruling coalition has accused the opposition alliance of plotting a violent overthrow of the government at an anti-government rally tomorrow.

The ‘Maldivians against brutality’ coalition last night turned down last minute overtures for negotiations when President Abdulla Yameen appointed the tourism minister as his envoy for talks.

“We will only sit down to negotiate with the the president of this country,” the Adhaalath Party president Sheikh Imran Abdulla told the press last night.

The opposition has held daily protests over the imprisonment of ex president Mohamed Nasheed and former defence minister Mohamed Nazim. The alliance has vowed to bring out 25,000 people on the streets of the capital Malé to “end the government’s tyranny.”

Imran said tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb had sent him a letter seeking a time and place for negotiations, but declared that Adeeb is “unfit” to negotiate with the opposition, calling him “corrupt”, “a venial sinner” and “a criminal”.

Adeeb has called Imran’s refusal to meet him “cowardly” and “effeminate” in a tweet this morning, dismissing the allegations of corruption and illicit connections with gangs as lies.

Government ministers and ruling party MPs held a joint press conference this afternoon, and claimed the May Day protest will not be peaceful.

The opposition is calling for an overthrow of an elected government and attempting to destabilise the country, Adeeb said today.

“Our security forces are ready,” he said.

He accused the Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim of “funding” the May Day protest and hiring Imran under “a contract”.

Imran is “playing the religious card” and inciting the public to rise up against the government, Adeeb said.


President Yameen had maintained on Monday that he saw no reason to negotiate or resign in the face of the’May Day’ mass rally. However, at a government ceremony the following night, Yameen said he has appointed Adeeb as his representative.

As the opposition build up to the mass rally continued and supporters from the atolls converged on Male’, Yameen has made daily public appearances this week.

Speaking at a ceremony held yesterday to accept membership forms of opposition councillors from Shaviyani atoll, Yameen accused the opposition of sowing discord, destabilising the nation, and disrupting peace and security.

Unlike the opposition parties, Yameen said the PPM will not seek power at any cost and was “impatient” to develop the Maldives.

The PPM will not torch buildings, assault civilians, and “commit atrocities,” he said.

He reiterated the government’s stance of upholding the rule of law and enforcing court verdicts.

At a live programme on opposition-aligned Raajje TV and Villa TV last night, opposition alliance leaders warned that the government will abolish political parties and establish a full-fledged “dictatorship” if tomorrow’s attempts to force president Yameen to come to the negotiating table fails.

The chairperson of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party Ali Waheed dismissed claims by police that the opposition is planning a violent confrontation with police.

The Maldivian people will be on the street “as one congregation” tomorrow.

“I want to tell the public, don’t be afraid, the whole world is watching,” he said.


Opposition parties deny signing agreement to topple government

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Jumhooree Party (JP), and Adhaalath Party (AP) have denied signing an agreement to topple the government.

A document was leaked to local media today purporting to be an agreement signed by leaders of the three parties to overthrow President Abdulla Yameen’s administration with the help of foreign benefactors.

“It is blatantly a big lie,” said MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed at a press conference of the ‘Maldivians against brutality’ alliance this afternoon.

Referring to an agreement signed between the MDP and JP last month, Waheed said the MDP would only sign an agreement “in front of the Maldivian people and the media” after seeking approval from the national council.

Waheed reiterated calls for President Yameen to initiate inter-party dialogue to resolve the current political crisis.

AP President Imran Abdulla said a “charter” for the opposition alliance has been drafted and was ready to be signed, insisting that an agreement has not been signed to date.

On the leaked documents, Imran suggested the government was trying “a different version” of the “pen drive philosophy” following public incredulity over confidential documents allegedly leaked from a pen drive confiscated from former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim’s apartment.

The documents published by online news outlet Vaguthu yesterday contained alleged plans by Nazim to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen and Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb.

Accusing the government of leaking the false agreement to the media, Imran facetiously said the documents should have been discovered in bedside drawers of the opposition party leaders, referring to police allegedly discovering the pen drive along with a pistol and three bullets during a midnight raid on Nazim’s apartment on January 18.

The opposition maintains that Nazim was “framed” after rogue police officers planted the weapon, whilst the police chief has denied the allegations.

Imran suggested that the government’s intention with the leaked agreement was to “create doubts among the public towards us,” adding that such efforts were instead backfiring.

The government was losing public confidence and “exposing” themselves whilst the opposition was gaining strength and momentum, Imran contended.

JP Deputy Leader Ameen Ibrahim meanwhile noted that the party’s council has not officially decided to participate in the new alliance and insisted that JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim would not sign such an agreement.

Ameen referred to a similar “fake document” purporting to be an agreement between the MDP and JP ahead of the parties officially forming an alliance.

The alliance agreement was signed at a joint rally and made publicly available, he noted.

MP Ahmed Mahloof – who allegedly signed as a witness – said the leaked document was a sign of the government’s growing “desperation.”

Sheikh Imran, at the alliance’s street protest last night, said the opposition would bring an end to the government’s “brutality” through street protests.

Leaked agreement

According to newspaper Haveeru, several sources have confirmed the authenticity of the leaked agreement.

“The agreement – signed at Qasim Ibrahim’s Paradise Island Resort – highlights five key points. Said points are: to tackle, at any cost, President Yameen and his allies’ unconstitutional actions, to put an end to their gang-utilised harassment of citizens, politicians, and journalists, to bring the government’s unlawful actions to the attention of the international community and have international actors pressure the government, to increase support from parliamentarians and other organisations,” reads the Haveeru article.

The alliance was to form a steering committee both to oversee street protests and travel across the country to seek public support.

Moreover, the alliance would topple the government if President Yameen’s administration fails to heed its demands, the agreement stated, after which the parties would back Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed as the new president until the next presidential election.

Photo from Haveeru
Photo from Haveeru



MDP selects representatives for all-party talks

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has formulated the team which will represent the party in all-party talks planned to discuss steps to defend the Constitution.

In a tweet by MDP chairperson Ali Waheed it was revealed that the team will consist of himself, Parliamentary Group leader MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, former Majlis Speaker MP Abdulla Shahid, former party Chairperson MP Mariya Didi, and Malé City Mayor Mohamed Shihab.

MDP leader and former President Mohamed Nasheed has urged President Abdulla Yameen to abandon strict and arbitrary policies and actions against other political figures and to conduct official talks with all political parties.

“As soon as possible, even if possible tonight, I urge President Yameen to commence talks with all political parties, especially with the inclusion of President Maumoon [Abdul Gayoom] in the talks,” he said.

Similarly,the Jumhooree Party has also has called on all political parties to discuss the steps that need to be taken to defend the Constitution, stating that it was willing to work with any party for that cause, in spite of potential threats and intimidation from the government.

The MDP have listed the removal of two Supreme Court judges and the replacement of the auditor general late last year as examples of the government’s unconstitutional actions.


MDP holds street rally in front of Gasim’s residence

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has held a street rally in front of Gasim Ibrahim’s residence in order to show solidarity with the Jumhooree Party (JP) leader in defending the Constitution.

The rally themed ‘In Defense of the Constitution’ held last night was attended by senior members of the MDP, with Maamigili MP Gasim also coming out of Maafannu Villa for a brief period of time to meet with the crowd.

Speaking at the rally, MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed said the parties were having informal talks to create a platform to defend the Constitution, which will emerge as one of the friendliest and most cooperative the nation has seen.

“We are protesting near Maafannu Villa or near any other political figure to protect the Maldivian Constitution. We should not be concerned about following someone or leading someone, rather Maldivians must rally behind the national flag and defend the constitution”, said Waheed.

MDP Vice president Mohamed Shifaz who also addressed the rally last night announced that the party will hold a protest march on Friday (January 23), starting at the Raalhugandu area in Malé.

The party has also announced that it will be holding rallies on street corners to raise awareness regarding the “destruction of the Maldivian Constitution”.

Yesterday’s rally marks a continued rapprochement between the opposition and the JP – which was officially aligned with the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives until May last year, after having given crucial backing to Abdulla Yameen in the 2013 presidential race.

Yameen eventually beat MDP candidate Mohamed Nasheed in a much-delayed poll after the Supreme Court’s controversial annulment of the first round following complaints lodged by third-placed candidate Gasim.

A warming of relations

MDP Spokesman Imthiyaz Fahmy told Minivan News today that it is time to leave the rocky past behind and for “all political parties including Mr Gasim’s Jumhooree Party to stand together with the MDP to defend the Constitution”.

“Defending the Constitution is not only the MDP’s job but everyone else’s too. The MDP is fighting for a cause in which, if anybody or politician is subjected to injustice or unfairness, the MDP would defend them and the Constitution”, said Fahmy.

Meanwhile, JP Spokesperson Ahmed Sameer stated that if all parties reflect on the experiences of the past and work with “sincerity and good will”, the JP is confident that the party will be able to work with the MDP.

“I do not see why MDP and JP cannot travel on the same boat. If are able to do fruitful work for this cause, perhaps it will pave way for further cooperation in the future”, Sameer said.

The previous alliance between the MDP and the JP – as part of Nasheed’s coalition government in 2008 – lasted less than one month. Gasim subsequently joined the anti-government movement in 2011 before the controversial resignation of Nasheed in early 2012.

Movement between the two parties has been frequent, however, with a number of prominent politicians switching between the two – most notably former MDP President Dr Ibrahim Didi and Vice President Alhan Fahmy both leaving for the JP in 2012 before returning in 2013.

After returning to the MDP following the JP’s decision to back Yameen for the presidency in late 2013, Dr Didi said that the two parties were similar in their reformist ideology.

“To tell the truth, 80 percent of Honourable Gasim’s heart is still with the MDP. This is a very clear reality. Even if he had to make a decision under duress, he is a person who worked in the front ranks since 1984 to bring reform to the Maldives,” he said.

Speaking at a rally in the capital Malé last weekend, former President Nasheed said that, despite their political differences, he would not allow President Yameen to destroy the JP leader Gasim.

“Gasim’s property cannot be looted. Gasim’s character and body cannot be harmed,” he told supporters. “We shall rally in his defense”.

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