MDP stage nationwide protests calling for Nasheed’s release

MDP stage nationwide protests calling for Nasheed’s release
October 10 12:03 2015

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) staged nationwide protests yesterday calling on the government to abide by a UN rights panel ruling and release former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Protest marches and vehicle rallies took place simultaneously around 4:00pom in the capital Malé, Addu City, Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo, and several islands across the country.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has ruled that Nasheed’s conviction on a terrorism charge in March was politically motivated and violated international law. But the government called the judgment “flawed and premature” and said it “will not be made to act on the basis of a non-binding opinion.”

About 2,000 people joined the protest march in Malé, which started at the artificial beach and ended with a prayer at the Sosun Magu-Majeedhee Magu junction around 6:00pm.

MDP MPs and leadership figures on the front line led chants for the release of jailed opposition leaders and made speeches condemning the the government’s defiance of the UN WGAD judgment.

President Abdulla Yameen must bear responsibility for any hardship the Maldivian people might face as a result of the government’s human rights violations and disrespect for its obligations under international law, they said.

Supporters also took the streets in Fuvahmulah, Laamu Gan, Noonu Velidhoo, Meemu Kolhufushi, Raa Meedhoo, and Baa Thulhaadhoo.

The MDP had resumed its anti-government campaign in September after a three-month hiatus. A moratorium on street protests was part of a deal made with the government seeking the release of Nasheed and other jailed politicians.

Citing the government’s refusal to honour its commitments, the MDP withdrew from the talks after Nasheed was taken back to Maafushi jail in late August and sought to reorganise protests and “direct action.” The party has since held street gatherings, protest marches, and rallies in southern strongholds.

The MDP also held a rally at the artificial beach on Thursday night.