Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party's (MDP) protests continued into the fourth night as violent clashes between Police and MDP supporters erupted late last night causing injuries to both sides.
Protesters had gathered in three separate locations where MDP’s female supporters rallied in one. During the violence that ensued as protesters pelted the police with stones and bottles, three journalists covering the event were seriously injured. Protesters had also set ablaze two police barricades during the mayhem last night.
Local web based Sun online journalist was hit in the head with a stone which is believed to have been hurled at the police by protesters. He was taken to the hospital for treatment but reported not to have suffered serious injuries.
Meanwhile pro-opposition Raajje TV cameraman and Minivan News photographer had allegedly been attacked by police with batons during their charge to disperse protesters. Raaje TV covering the protest live last night claimed that such attacks were not unprecedented and the station’s personnel were being specifically targeted by police.
Minivan News official stated that their photographer had been hit by police batons on both shoulders while covering last night’s protest.
Police, however refuted the allegations by stressing that all media personnel covering the protest inside the secure zone would be under the protection of the police and have been allowed to cover the protests with freedom and independence. A police official told Haveeru last night that any journalist injured outside the secure zone will be probed. The official stressed that police would not deliberately carry out targeted attacks on any media personnel.
Police further dismissed some media reports that rubber bullets had been used to break up the protest.
MDP has vowed to continue the ongoing protest named ‘Direct, Immediate Action” until the present government is overthrown or a date for early elections are announced.