Crossroad

On 29th May 2012, a court order was released giving permission for the police to search the space (Usfasgandu) that the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members had been legally occupying in the North East corner of the island Male’. The reasons outlined in the court order  varies from the production of illegal substances to the  practicing of witchcraft against Dr.Mohamed Waheed’s government. The police not only searched the space but also went on to illegally dismantle and destroy the space. The demonstrations that ensued saw renewed police brutality against the citizens. Amnesty international released a statement calling for an end to the use of excessive force against demonstrators while the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives condemned the demonstrators for the use of foul language towards the police and for some of the demonstrators throwing plastic bottles and stones at the police [HRCM website lacks any documentation of the statement]. Today the Maldives Police services released a response to the statement by the Amnesty International.

MDP supporters have been gathering near usfasgandu since early morning on the news that Police were taking over their legally occupied rallying space on the North East corner of Male'.Questions were being asked by public on the legality of a court order stating witchcraft as the reason for searching the grounds, police responded with pushing the crowd further down the streets.Since the coup on 7th February 2012, Women have been playing a major role in the Pro-democracy movement and they are often seen at the front lines of the protests.This woman who had been questioning the Police on why they were stifling their right to freedom of assembly refused to back down.As Police went about searching and illegally dismantling the rallying point, calls were going around for people to gather at the center of the island (Majeedhi Magu Chandhanee Magu, crossroads).People started to come out and slowly  the space came to a standstill.Police response was without any warning as they came from all four streets and violently attempted to disperse this crowed.Reinforcements arrived as the crowd refused to leave.Soon the infamous 'Police line' was drawn from all four directions. The protestors stood their ground.The police refused the freedom to express and assemble.What followed was one of the most brutal crackdown since the 8th Feb 2012.Arrests followed as police kept charging the protestors.Questions on how the Police were going to regain the public trust they lost since the coup were answered with more brutality.Arrests followed as police kept charging the protestors.52 people were arrested and numerous complaints of Police brutality were reported. Amnesty International called on the 'Maldives government must end use of excessive force against demonstrators'. As the news of the successful appeal in the higher courts by MDP against dismantling of their space reached the streets, the police started leaving and the streets returned to normal.

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