Large fraction of police voicing disapproval

Feb 07, 2012 - 02:59 6 comments
  • Police and MNDF in massive conflict of interest following violent clash between opposition and MDP protesters. PHOTO/ IBRAHIM FAID

The series of anti-government protests spurned out of control when the opposition parties clashed with the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members at the artificial beach tonight.

For the second night in succession MDP activists had gathered near the artificial beach area just across the opposition protest that was separated by a police cordon.

The two parties exchanged verbal attacks without much incident at the time.

Following the arrival of Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF) police left the scene, apparently handing over command to the armed forces.

However, MNDF officers gathered a good distance away from the protesters leaving them unattended and uncontrolled.

Violent clashes ensued shortly after as the two groups converged and hurled stones at each other.

A Haveeru journalist suffered a severe head injury when she was hit by a stone and a few of the protesters were also injured in the exchange.

The MNDF intervened after being spectators to the vicious clash and took the situation under control.

The incident tonight has evoked massive conflict between the armed forces and the police believed to be due to the inaction by the MNDF during the incident.

In retaliation the police had trashed the MDP camp, beaten and pepper sprayed activists who were present in the camp at the time.

Large numbers of police officers and the general public gathered at the Republic Square voicing their disapproval over tonight’s incident.

The armed forces surrounded the crowd present at the square and used tear gas to disperse and break up the protest.

A MDP parliamentary group member stated that over 20 police officers had been arrested from the republic square.

Presidential Commission member Abdulla Haseen stated that a fraction within the police was acting against the government and investigations into the matter was underway.

Meanwhile violence has erupted throughout the capital where groups were torching and destroying property.

Three masked men had attacked and set fire to the front lounge area of private television station Villa TV. The group had also hurled stones and broken the glass door of the station.

Reports are still coming in of various attacks throughout the capital Male’ which for the time being at least, has lost law and order.

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