Yesterday’s protest organised by the Opposition political parties have been declared violent by key independent institutions including the Police Integrity Commission and the Human Rights Commission.
In a statement released last night, the PIC, noted that though the protest commenced peacefully, it turned violent towards its end when the protesters attempted to enter the restricted Green Zone. The statement further noted that protestors used abusive language aimed at provoking the Police, and hurled bricks (from the road) and water bottles at the Police. Similarly in its statement the Human Rights Commission stated that in addition to the above the protesters had hurled some sort of powder at the Police which caused the eyes to burn. The effect of this powder was felt by the observers of the protest who were behind the Police line.
The PIC also highlighted that the Police had acted with restraint and as per laws in controlling and dispersing the crowd. The Commission also noted the Police had used proportionate use of force in bringing the crowds under control.
In a brief press interview at around 2000 hours the Maldives Police Service stated that the protest had turned violent near the local market area and that the Police were forced to address the unruly crowd accordingly. They used teargas and pepper spray to disperse the crowds after cautioning them to disperse and vacate the premises.
The Police also stated that the leaders of the protest, Sheikh Imran of Adhaalath Party, Mr. Ali Waheed of MDP and Mr. Ameen Ibrahim of JP incited violence and urged for confrontations with the Police when preaching to the crowds. Soon afterwards the protest leadership disbanded and left the protest before it reached the Police barricade leaving an emotionally charged crowd to clash with the Police.
The crowds then charged at the Police near the local market area and the Police line was forced to push back.
Additionally a speeding vehicle carrying the sound system of the rally sped through the Police barricade injuring some Police officers. Videos and photo have emerged of protesters attacking the Police.
The Police have arrested the organisers of the protest namely; Sheikh Imran, Mr. Ali Waheed and Mr Ameen Ibrahim early morning pursuant to court orders.
The Police also took into some of protesters. Some are expected to be released today while others will be brought before a court of law shortly.