Opposition protesters called for the overthrow of President Abdulla Yameen’s government through a suicide attack, the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) has alleged.
In a statement on Wednesday, the PPM called on the Elections Commission, the Maldives Police Services and the Prosecutor General to take the call “encouraging terrorism” as a serious matter.
Since February 12, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and former PPM ally Jumhooree Party (JP) have been protesting nightly against alleged unconstitutional acts by the PPM, including the controversial dismissal of the Auditor General and two Supreme Court judges.
However, the PPM said opposition parties had failed to demonstrate how the government had breached the constitution and were only attempting to disrupt public order.
“This party believes these protests are aimed at obstructing President Yameen’s administration’s successful work at establishing peace and security. [The opposition] is disrupting the economic, social and political order in the country,” the statement read.
PPM Spokesman Ali Arif told Minivan News that the PPM “does not have any problem with protests held within the boundaries of law” and that “the leaders who organize the protests are ultimately responsible for what is being said on the mic.”
In response to the opposition’s claim that the government had lost legitimacy with the JP’s split from the PPM, Arif said the Maldivian people had voted for President Yameen and Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel, and not the PPM, JP coalition.
“The people marked a ballot paper that had the name of President Yameen and Dr Jameel as his Vice President. Neither the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives nor Maldivian laws include any mention of the word ‘coalition.’ In constitutional and legal terms the word does not exist,” he said.
When asked if the PPM would initiate talks with the opposition, Arif said: “street action is not the way to pave way for discussions and dialogue”.
Yameen, who gained 29 percent of the vote in the first round of 2013 presidential polls, was elected as president after JP’s Gasim Ibrahim backed him at the eleventh hour. Yameen won the election against MDP’s Mohamed Nasheed with 51.4 percent of the vote.
The PPM and JP coalition first fractured in May 2014 following the ruling party’s refusal to back Gasim for the Majlis Speakership.
Speaking to supporters last night, MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy denied that the opposition had called for a suicide attack, but said: “everyone gathered here is willing to sacrifice not only their lives, but their goods as well, in order to bring good governance to the Maldives.”
“We are a coalition of MDP and JP, the majority of the Maldivian people. This is why President Yameen should listen to our demands and stop repeatedly violating the constitution.”
The Maldives Police Services arrested two protesters from the rally last night. In response to media reports that police had used pepper spray at the rally, a spokesperson told Minivan News that officers had used “adequate and necessary force.”
Government supporters are to march today calling for an end to anti-government protests. The march will begin at 4 pm from the Artificial Beach in Malé.
Tourism Minister and PPM’s vice president Ahmed Adeeb tweeted in support of the rally and called on “All Youth who Support President Yameen” to attend the rally “against Nasheed & Gasim, destroying our future”
The Broadcasting Commission of Maldives today released a statement reminding all media outlets to follow broadcasting code of ethics, stating that “some content broadcasted in relation to the ongoing protests are in violation of the broadcasting code of ethics”.
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