The Maldives Police Service (MPS) has for the first time used rubber bullets yesterday to control unrest.
Police fired rubber bullets twice into the air to disperse members and supporters of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) who had gathered to prevent President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik from delivering his address to the parliament.
The first rounds of bullets were fired at the junction of Sosun Magu and Majeedhee Magu following the attack on VTV during a standoff between the police and protesters who were pelting the police with bricks and bottles, in order to disperse the gathered crowd.
The second rounds of bullets were fired near the MDP protest camp at surfers point when MDP demonstrators attacked the vehicles of the police forces that were dismantling the camp.
“The police had under no circumstance fired rubber balls directly at anyone. They had only fired into the air as a warning,” a police media official stressed.
Never before yesterday had the police used rubber bullets. The first time rubber bullets were fired at Maldivians was on February 7 during the clash between the police and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).
The protest of yesterday which began in the morning ended with a lot of damage inflicted on private as well as public property and both members of the police service and MDP members were injured in the confrontations.