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Maldives govt looks to restrict protests

Mohamed Visham
09 August 2016, MVT 14:51
Protesters confront police as the parliament passed the contentious defamation bill on Tuesday. MIHAARU PHOTO/NISHAN ALI
Mohamed Visham
09 August 2016, MVT 14:51

Government has proposed an amendment to the assembly act which will severely restrict protests in the capital Male.

According to the amendment submitted by ruling party lawmaker Abdulla Rifau, protests and marches of any kind without prior notice can only be held in places designated by the home ministry.

Home ministry is obligated to publicize a list of places within 30 days of the law coming into effect.

The amendment argues that street marches and protests prove a nuisance to the residents of the congested capital.

A ban on street protests in the capital Male has been in force since a police crackdown on a three-day protest staged by the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) last November.

The police have since blocked the opposition’s anti-corruption walks as well as marches by the media and civil society.

The amendment is the latest move by the government to exploit its control in the parliament to crackdown on dissent.

Meanwhile, the Parliament on Tuesday passed the contentious defamation bill to deliver a major blow to media and free speech in the Maldives.

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