A group of eight teenagers, including six minors, were briefly detained by the police while skating in the capital’s suburb Hulhumalé last night.
A police media official said the teenagers were “skating at high speed” near the Rehendi School. They were stopped by police officers, “advised not to skate in a manner that is unsafe for themselves and other citizens,” and taken to the police station.
One of the teenagers, Ahmed Aiham, told The Maldives Independent that the group were “subjected to physical and verbal abuse” by the police officers.
“I repeatedly asked why they were talking to us that way. They took my phone by force at one point and shoved me away from my fellow skaters at the police station,” he said.
Aiham said he asked the police to explain why the group was taken into custody as they had a right to be informed of the reason.
But the police media official insisted that the teenagers were not arrested, but were only taken to the police station to be advised against skating in the streets.
“The streets of Hulhumalé are not the place for skating, especially at night. There are closed-off roads and parks in Hulhumalé that could be used for skating. It is our responsibility to protect the citizens,” he said.
The official also accused the teenagers of using obscene language and disrespecting the police officers, adding that all police officers have been advised to be respectful and professional when interacting with members of the public.
Aiham has meanwhile given a detailed account of the incident in a Facebook post, questioning the authority of the police to detain the teenagers.
“One might think skating around on a big open road at Hulhumalé wouldn’t be a problem but it apparently is,” he wrote.
Photo credit: Nattu Adnan