The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s vice-president, Mohamed Shifaz, was arrested in the middle of a speech and detained for two hours last night.
Police entered the opposition’s headquarters at Artificial Beach around midnight without a court warrant and arrested Shifaz while he was addressing a crowd of supporters.
Officers said Shifaz had been arrested for disturbing the peace by using loud speakers beyond midnight.
The police in May had banned the use of loud speakers beyond 11pm and protests beyond midnight. The opposition has condemned the move as an obstruction of freedom of assembly and expression.
“I was taken to the police headquarters and advised not to repeat my actions. I told them that advising me will not stop us from exercising our right to freedom of expression. My arrest is a blatant obstruction of that right,” Shifaz told Minivan News.
He was released at 2am.
The police also arrested two others from the opposition Haruge for obstruction of police duty. The pair were also released in the early hours of the morning.
The MDP has condemned the police’s actions, claiming they had switched off the loud speakers on the street by midnight.
Despite Shifaz’s arrest, the opposition rally continued till 1am.
The rally was held to prepare for the MDP’s tenth anniversary on June 26, Friday. The party has announced it will hold a march at 10pm on Friday.
Supporters have highlighted the party’s achievements on social media with the hashtag #MDP10years.
The MDP was the first political party to register in the Maldives.
— Mabrouq (@mabrouq) June 22, 2015
— Imran Zahir (@buks80) June 22, 2015
— Almond (@almond3131) June 22, 2015
Photo from social media