A large number of oppotion supporters were arrested on Saturday at a rally organized by supporters of the Progressive Coalition.
The group of youngsters attempted to hold a motorcycle rally in capital Male’ in support of the opposition on Saturday evening. However, the police obstructed the group, citing that such gatherings cannot be allowed at a time when a public health emergency has been announced due to COVID-19. After the police hindered the rally from being held, several opposition supporters took to the streets to express their disdain. Pepper spray was used by the police to break up the gatherings, and a large number of protestors were arrested. Several vehicles belonging to the protestoers were towed.
Maldives Police Service said 41 people were arrested at the street protests for violating the Health Protection Agency (HPA)’s guidelines and for endangering the public during a health pandemic. The police urged all parties to adhere to the guidelines set by HPA and to prioritize the healyh and safety of the country’s citizens.
Although the rally was organized by supporters, and while the opposition claims it played no part in organizing the event, senior members of the coalition were in attendance at Saturdays activities, including President of Peoples’ National Congress (PNC) Abdul Raheem Abdulla and Vice President Ibrahim Sujau as well as Naifaru MP Ahmed Shiyam.
The opposition held a similar rally on August 28. Several senior members of the progressive coalition were fined for violating HPA guidelines during the rally, including coalition advisor and former president of Maldives, Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, PNC President Abdul Raheem, as well as both VPs of PPM, Sujau and Shiyam.