Yameen claims he allowed protests during his time, criticizes the incumbent govt.
Former President Abdulla Yameen has stated that protests have not been banned during his five years of administration. Opposition coalition conducted a mass rally on Friday as part of the activities of ‘India Out’ campaign spearheaded by Yameen.
The police, in a statement, warned they will not allow for the rally to be held, citing that there were multiple reasons to believe the opposition isn’t planning to hold the rally under Freedom of Assembly Act.
Police made clear statements and gave warnings that they will take actions against protesters if they are found going against the law.
Maldives Police Service made around 17 arrests from the mass rally over obstruction of justice— eight had been released whereas nine have been remanded in custody.
“We call on the Human Rights Commission, National Integrity Commission, and other relevant institutions to look into this issue and take action,” appealed the opposition coalition.
Commenting on the situation, Yameen said that the government is doing what it wants because of the power of institutions and the power to enforce the law.
Yameen said that MDP was the most vocal advocate of protests, and they held multiple protests during his time in power but he did not ban during his time. Yameen said that MDP “was allowed” to hold protests.
“I also tried to stop it from being tolerated and implemented with difficulty. But we allowed protests. There will be no five years of our government banning protests. The police did not have the intelligence available to the protest at the time to prevent a protest from taking place,” he said.
Yameen alleged that the police were causing serious injuries to those taking part in the protests and said that when a PPM government will be formed and if such situation arises when he is in power, those in charge of the MNDF and police will be removed from their posts. Yameen said that these institutions are not political institutions and asked people not to politicize the situation.
Irony is— Yameen was far more merciless on public who would criticize him
- The Maldives was ranked 117 out of 180 counties in the Reporters Without Borders annual press freedom index.
- The then MPs vote to restrict right to protest.
- Street protests, marches and other such gatherings can only be held with written permission from the police.
- Mass arrest of his political opponents to cripple them from contesting in elections.
- Seven journalists and cameramen from two private TV stations arrested while covering a protest outside the MDP meeting hall
- Yameen had the right to declare groups as terrorist organizations.
- Anyone giving speech that authorities believe encourages terrorism can be prosecuted, along with any media that report on such speeches.
- Raajje TV paid MVR1 million fine imposed for airing a speech that was deemed defamatory towards Yameen.
- DhiTV and the Dhivehi Online website shut down just a day after the ruling party approved a draconian law re-criminalising defamation.
- Shutdown of the country’s oldest newspaper, Haveeru due to the political influence of Yameen
- 18 journalists, including seven young women, arrested and strip-searched
- The Maldives Independent editor Zaheena Rasheed and Sangu TV Managing Director Ibrahim Asward Waheed among the arrested journalists
He may have forgotten his time from being branded as one of the most harshest dictators in the paradise island by many of the international spectators but the facts and dates doesn’t disappear just because he claims there wasn’t a time like that.
While Maldives still has a very long way to go to improve on matters regarding press freedom and peaceful assembly, we should remember that Yameen was the kind who can declare state of emergency upon the entire nation when he feels threatened or feels a sense of loss heading his way. Maldives should be clear and decisive about what kind of leader it wants for herself in the future.