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Maldives opposition to hold anniversary march despite police warning

Mohamed Visham
11 July 2016, MVT 10:56
MDP supporters pictured during an anti-government protest. PHOTO/MDP SECRETARIAT
Mohamed Visham
11 July 2016, MVT 10:56

Main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is set defy police warnings to press ahead with its plans to hold a march to celebrate its 11th anniversary.

MDP has planned to kick off the street march at 9pm Monday despite a police warning to block the anniversary celebration.

The opposition party's secretary general Anas Abdul Sattar said the party had met with police a second time on Sunday over the march.

But police citing traffic jams and inconvenience to pedestrians had reiterated its stand to block off the march.

Anas, however insisted that MDP would only yield to a court order.

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

Police have repeatedly insisted that article 33 of the Freedom of Assembly Act allows restrictions for “protecting the rights and freedom of others.”

However, MDP has continued to insist that the police cannot ban a gathering in advance.

The 2013 law authorises the police to order organisers to curtail the duration of a gathering, to maintain a specific noise level, to end the gathering before a specific time, to refrain from using loudspeakers, to refrain from using foul language, and to hold the gathering at a specific time.

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