Maldives Correctional Service, on Thursday, transferred opposition party People's National Congress (PNC)'s President Abdul Raheem Abdulla and Vice President Ibrahim Shujau to Dhoonidhoo Prison.
The two were arrested on Wednesday amid an opposition protest in front of Dharubaaruge which was initiated in response to Minister of Health Ahmed Naseem's refusal to sit down with the coalition to discuss their concerns regarding the COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Indian government earlier this month.
In a statement issued following the arrest, the opposition coalition of PNC and the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) condemned the arrests and called for their immediate release.
Abdul Raheem and Shujau were also taken into police custody earlier this week, on Monday, in an opposition-led demonstration calling to expedite the local council elections, along with several other protesters. They were all released later the same day.
The government has been heavily cracking down on opposition protests and gatherings throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, often citing their violations of the Health Protections Agency (HPA) guidelines.
However, the opposition has claimed that the state is using the COVID-19 pandemic to oppress the parties, and hinder their activities, including their campaign for the upcoming local council elections.
Following Monday's arrests at the demonstration held in front of the Elections Commission (EC), the coalition released a statement threatening to raise the issue of authorities obstructing the rights granted by the constitution, as well as abusing their power, since EC is not located in a greenzone and the protest was peaceful.
“This proves the state’s incompetence and its unfamiliarity to democracy”, the coalition asserted.