Government on Thursday refused to recognize the newly formed opposition coalition with a senior minister describing the Maldives United Opposition (MUO) as "illegal".
Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muizzu after announcing the u-turn on the decision to grant a venue for the MUO to hold its first rally, said the government would not give "even an inch" from Maldivian soil to hold unlawful gatherings.
The minister however, quickly insisted that the government would continue to support peaceful gatherings and freedom of speech within the contours of the law.
Muizzu also said the he had decided 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 MUO brings together the Maldivian Democratic Party, the Adhaalath Party, two of president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s former deputies and his former defence minister.
Muizzu said the permit which was originally given to MDP was annulled after the opposition party on its official Twitter account had invited the public to the rally to "topple the government."
MDP meanwhile, has announced that the rally would be held despite the refusal by the government to grant a venue.
MDP had pointed out that the ministry has always allowed for joint political party gatherings.
The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) continues to hold its rallies jointly with its coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), MDP argued.
MDP had also urged authorities not to stymie the rally.