Police dismantles Ihavandhoo opposition hut

Police dismantles Ihavandhoo opposition hut
March 22 15:39 2018

A team of policemen armed with hammers and tools dismantled Wednesday a hut used by opposition supporters on the island of Ihavandhoo.

Island council president Mohamed Rasheed, who live-streamed the 40-strong police team in action, suggested the authorities were vexed that people were gathering there to watch the opposition-aligned Raajje TV.

Dubbed Nala Maizan, the small hut on the island’s harbour was built on public land under the five-member council’s guardianship.

With all five opposition Maldivian Democratic Party councillors suspended since January 31, the council’s top civil servant announced Tuesday that any private property should be removed before police arrive to clear out the hut.

On Thursday morning, opposition supporters started work on building a new MDP haruge (meeting hall) on Ihavandhoo, the council president tweeted.

The five opposition councillors were suspended for three months following disputes during fishermen’s day celebrations in the northernmost atoll last year.

Earlier this month, police conducted operations to remove MDP flags that were raised higher than the national flag on several islands, a violation of new flag rules enacted by the home ministry last year.

Photos and videos of a policeman climbing a 50-foot flagpole on Manadhoo island went viral on social networks.

A few days later, police officers were ridiculed for seeking the help of an expatriate to climb a 115-feet tall banyan tree and take down an MDP flag on the island of Bileiyfahi.

Banners and posters were also removed on the northern island under restrictions imposed on political activities.