The Edition


Maldives govt announces u-turn on decision to grant venue for opposition rally

Mohamed Visham
14 July 2016, MVT 10:44
Housing minister Dr Mohamed Muizzu speaks during the press conference on Thursday. MIHAARU PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN
Mohamed Visham
14 July 2016, MVT 10:44

Government on Thursday announced a sudden u-turn on its decision to grant a venue for the newly formed opposition coalition to hold its first rally.

Housing ministry had finally yielded to opposition pressure on Tuesday after top opposition officials camped inside the housing ministry to obtain the permit to hold the rally more than a month after putting in the request.

Housing minister Dr Mohamed Muizzu called a sudden press conference to annul the permit insisting that the government cannot allow a rally intended to incite the public to commit an unlawful act."

"We will not allow anyone to undermine the peace and stability of the country," Muizzu said during the press conference before walking out without taking questions.

The Maldives United Opposition had announced its plans to hold its first rally on Thursday and had put in a request for permission over a month ago.

MUO top officials had gone down to the housing ministry hoping to get a reply to the request to hold the rally at the carnival area in the capital Male.

Officials had also met members of the elections commission in a bid to push for the permission.

Elections Commission had later urged the housing ministry to grant the opposition request.

The newly formed opposition alliance had said it will seek to oust incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and form an interim government to ensure free and fair elections scheduled in 2018.

The Maldives United Opposition brings together the Maldivian Democratic Party, the Adhaalath Party, two of president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s former deputies and his former defence minister.

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.