Last night's anti-government protests turned violent after protesters took to the streets and gathered near the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) camp. The clashes between the ruling MDP and anti-government protesters left several injured, including a journalist.
As previous nights anti-government protesters started their rally near Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) building at around 9.00 last night.
Some high ranking opposition figures spoke at the gathering which inflamed the atmosphere and the crowd. Shortly after, the protesters had tried to break through the police road blocks but the crowd was brought under control by the police.
The crowd took to the streets at midnight without disclosing their destined location, and took their usual route from Chandhanee Magu towards Majeedhee Magu, but as the Police had already positioned road blocks, the protesters then headed towards Voice of Maldives building, where three police vehicles had awaiting them.
A brick thrown from the crowd smashed the window of a police vehicle. The protesters then headed from Ameenee magu towards ‘Henveiru’ district where the vehicle used in the protest was stopped and seized by the police but the crowd had marched on towards the MDP camp.
MDP activists and supporters were armed with bricks, steel pipes, and wooden clubs by the time the protesters reached the camp. Some anti-government protesters threw bricks at the camp before MDP supporters had charged wildly beating everyone in their path.
Maldives National Broadcating Corporation channel one journalist Moosa Naushad who was covering the protest had arrived at the camp along with the protesters.
Some people near the MDP camp had grabbed him, knocked him to the ground and was brutally beaten up and tazed. They had continued the assault till the police had arrived on the scene, who brought the situation under control but no one was arrested following the incident.
According to his family, Naushad needs to undergo surgery to treat the injuries suffered to his arm. His wife stated that according to the doctor, some bones in his arm had been shattered due to the beating and needs to undergo immediate surgery.
“I was with the protesters and tried to get through to the other side to get a camera from office (MNBC which was round the corner), when they grabbed me, I showed them my press card but that did not stop them” Naushad explained.
He also added that when he asked assistance from the police, they had “ignored and left” him whilst a bystander had brought him to Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) on his motor cycle.
MNBC and Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) have strongly condemned the attack.
In another incident, a couple who claimed to have been purposely hit by a police vehicle whilst on their motor bike, received treatment at ADK hospital last night.
The couple who are activists of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) claim that the police vehicle hit their motor bike twice from behind and knocked it out of control which then hit a tree. The couple received minor injuries and scratches while the motor bike was damaged.
The police media official said that till now they were aware that it was an ‘accident’, but was looking in to the matter and have launched an internal investigation in to it.
“Further details will be revealed after the investigation” he added.