Photo by Ahmed Azim
Supporters of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) held a joyous celebration of its tenth anniversary with a march in the capital Malé on Friday night.
Hundreds clad in yellow t-shirts and carrying yellow flags danced on the streets of Malé to live music. There were multiple lorries carrying a DJ, a mirror ball and a band of drummers.
The MDP is the first political party to register in the Maldives. With 46,608 members, it is the largest political party in the country.
The march ended with cake cutting at the Artificial Beach.
At the center was Mariyam Manike, who triggered pro-democracy protests in 2003 by throwing off the funeral shrouds that covered her son’s tortured body. Evan Naseem, 19 years, was beaten to death by prison guards.
Photos by Ismail Humaam Hamid
MDP supporters marched on Malé’s thoroughfare Majeedhee Magu, but took a detour down the side streets near the residence of ex-president Mohamed Nasheed, who is currently under house arrest.
Nasheed was sentenced to 13-years in jail on terrorism charges in March. His arrest and imprisonment triggered a long political crisis with daily protests. The opposition leader’s transfer to house arrest appears to signal a thaw between the opposition and the government.
“As we celebrate our tenth anniversary, we are once again at a crossroads. Every member of this party is fully aware of where this country is at and what has happened to me. The courage we require for the journey ahead has been measured. Our destination is clear,” Nasheed said in a written message to his supporters.
“It is MDP members who are most aware of the journey we must make to our destination. There are none more experienced and more capable to undertake this journey.
“The path to realizing the dreams of the Maldivian people lie with organizing ourselves as political party. The Maldivian Democratic Party will change the Maldives.”
Supporters at the march celebrated the party’s achievements, including an end to torture in jails, the fight for civic freedoms, introduction of modern election campaigns and manifestos, decentralized governance and a tax regime.
The first president of the MDP, Ibrahim Ismail said: “Members of MDP, you should all be proud today, to have preserved against adversity and come this far.”
Memories from the First Congress of MDP, 2005. Closing. #MDP10YRS pic.twitter.com/RXxYYB2bhV
— Ibra (@ibramandhu) June 26, 2015
Disappearance and killings of inmates stopped with MDP. One big achievement for the country's future. Happy Birthday MDP. #MDP10years
— Waddey (@waddey) June 26, 2015
A journey full of peril, joy, despair, smiles, tears, jubilation, frustration – but most of all a journey of hope for all. #MDP10years
— Farah Didi (@FarahDidi) June 26, 2015
#MDP10years encouraged women in politics. I wouldn't stand up for myself today, had I not gotten the inspiration from @evattey & others.
— Isra (@IsraSaudulla) June 26, 2015
MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed missed out on the celebration as he is in the UK over fears he may be arrested and charged with terrorism.
Missing the fun ;-( Enjoy the night ;-) Insha Allah more to come :-) #MDP10years pic.twitter.com/9yY2aFe6SI
— Ali Waheed (@ali20waheed) June 26, 2015
Celebrations also took place all over the country, including in Addu City, the islands of Fuvahmulah, Kolamafushi, Alifushi, Bilehfahi, Naifaru and Isdhoo.