Those arrested during opposition protest released

Those arrested during Saturday night's opposition protest in Male' city have been released.

Five people were detained during the protests, including Vice President of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Naifaru MP Ahmed Shiyam, and former Hoarafushi MP Mohamed Ismail and three members of the PPM council.

Police said all five people were released early Sunday morning.

A large number of supporters from opposing Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Peoples' National Congress (PNC) gathered at Chaandhanee Magu on Saturday night and called for the release of their jailed leader, who was sentenced to five years in prison for money laundering earlier on Thursday.

The protestors were backed away from the area by the police, after which the crowd dispersed to different streets where they continued to voice their sentiments. They finally re-grouped in front of the PPM office on the outer main street of the city, where they continued the protest.

Some council members of the PPM-PNC joint coalition were arrested while the police attempted to break up the crowd.

The PPM-PNC council are determined to continue protesting every night on the streets of Male' city until President Yameen is freed. The opposing coalition has refused to accept the verdict against their leader.

According to amendments brought to the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly Act by the former president during his administration, street protests, marches, parades, and other such gatherings can only be held with written permission from the police, or in areas designated by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The ministry listed the Carnival area in capital Male' as the only approved location to hold a protest.

The amendment was ratified while the then opposition, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) was protesting against the jailing of their leader and current Speaker of the parliament, Maldives' first democratically elected president Mohamed Nasheed