Outraged citizens gathered in front of Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services in capital Male' City on Friday afternoon to protest against rape, amidst the ongoing investigation into the sexual abuse of a two-year-old girl.
Holding placards carrying sentiments such as "Your silence is loud", "No mercy to rapists", and "Children's safety over family dignity - report!", the protestors called for everyone to take a stand against sexual violence, especially when it involves children, and to report such cases to the authorities immediately. The protestors also demanded that action be taken against people whose negligence compromise the safety of children.
Some of the people gathered further called for Gender Minister Shidhatha Shareef's resignation, criticising the government for failing to protect children from predators.
Minister Shidhatha made an appearance in front of the ministry during the protest and responded to some of the questions posed by reporters.
Several police officers were also on the scene to control the situation.
The protest took place after the police arrested two elderly men, said to be the victim's grandfather and great-grandfather, in the island of Kanduhulhudhoo in Gaafu Alif Atoll. Although sources from the island claim that the girl's father was also involved, authorities have not officially confirmed the allegation.