The Edition


MNDF, Police entered parliament to remove ousted lawmakers: Police

Fathmath Shaahunaz
24 July 2017, MVT 21:26
Police officers on scene to bar opposition lawmakers from entering the parliament building. PHOTO/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
24 July 2017, MVT 21:26

Special Operations police officers and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) soldiers entered the parliament building Monday afternoon in order to remove ousted lawmakers, who no longer hold parliament seats, after they forced their way into the chambers, stated Police.

MNDF locked the gates to the parliament building early Monday, barring everyone from entering except staff of the parliament administration. The lockup is believed to have been imposed after opposition lawmakers declared earlier that they would enter the chambers despite the cancellation of Monday’s session. The sitting originally scheduled for Monday morning was to debate the resolution submitted by the opposition regarding a motion of no confidence against the parliament speaker. However, the resolution was late quashed over lacking the required amount of signatures due to a number of lawmakers losing their seats recently.

While MNDF and Police guarded the gates and held off lawmakers and other public citizens that gathered in the area, opposition lawmakers eventually forced past police barricades and entered the parliament building, some scaling the walls of the parliament grounds.

Police officers in riot gear and shields hold off crowds of people gathered over the parliament lockup. PHOTO/MIHAARU

MNDF and Police SO officers followed soon to forcibly remove the lawmakers from the parliament chambers, ordering the administration staff to leave as well. The forced entry and subsequent removal of lawmakers resulted in various injuries to lawmakers. One parliamentarian, Kaashidhoo MP Faisal Naseem, was taken to ADK Hospital for treatment. Police and MNDF also used pepper spray in the clashes with lawmakers while a number of citizens also gathered and raised voices over the parliament lockup.

Police later tweeted that police officers entered the parliament chambers in response to MNDF’s request for aid in removing lawmakers that no longer hold parliament seats. The Elections Commission recently announced that six lawmakers, out of the 45 that gave their signatures to submit the no confidence motion, have lost their seats, some of whom were among the parliamentarians that forcefully entered the chambers on Monday.

Opposition lawmakers later voiced outrage over Police entering the parliament building, claiming that Police are not authorised to enter. Several parliamentarians reiterated that they arrived at Parliament on Monday "not to commit any unlawful actions" but to do their jobs.

Some lawmakers, citizens and cameramen covering the event were eventually taken into custody. Some citizens were also injured in the conflict.