Police last night while claiming that the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party's (MDP) ongoing 'Direct Action' protests were not peaceful gatherings, stressed that Police would cooperate with peaceful exercises of the freedom of assembly.
Hussain Fiyaz Moosa, Haveeru Online
Jul 13, 2012 - 02:19 1 comment
During a press conference held by the Maldives Police Service, Superintendent of Police Mohamed Riyaz said that despite claims by MDP that its protests were peaceful, it was difficult to be labeled so.
Riyaz alleged that participants of the MDP protests had carried out varying degrees of attacks on police personnel maintaining security and had also engaged in various criminal offences during the protests.
So far 98 people have been arrested in the ‘Direct Action’ protests, but stressed that such arrests have not been made while “ peaceful exercise of the right to assembly.”
He further stressed that the Police were willing to facilitate the opportunity for the people to engage in peaceful protests. Riyaz noted that only 28 people remain in police custody out of the people that had been arrested.
“However, we will not tolerate the attempts made to penetrate the police security lines, attacks on police personnel and property in the name of freedom of right to assembly,” Riyaz added.
He also said that the Police would not be spectator to violations of laws and regulations and pledged strict action against anyone attempting to undermine the peace and security of the capital Male.
Riyaz refuted the allegations that Police were deliberately targeting attacks on protesters and journalists covering the protests, labeling it as a “blatant lie.” He added that Police are only inclined to break up protests after demonstrators “engage in actions to create unrest and violence.” Riyaz also dismissed reports that Police had hurled stones at protesters.
In reference to the recent allegations that Police deployed in the protests had been inebriated, Riyaz claimed that such accusations were intended to defame, undermine the authority and confidence in the Police institution. Refuting the claims Riyaz pledged full cooperation to anyone who wishes to determine the truth behind the allegations.
Riyaz detailed that so far five police officers had been injured, one seriously during the recent opposition led protests.