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3 arrested over videos of 'police officers' threatening Maldives govt

Fathmath Shaahunaz
17 March 2018, MVT 01:01
A screen grab of a video shared on social media, which featured a group of men in police uniforms giving warnings to the Maldivian government.
Fathmath Shaahunaz
17 March 2018, MVT 01:01

Maldives Police Service on Friday night announced that three people have been arrested in connection to videos that were uploaded to social media, which featured unidentified individuals in police uniforms threatening the government.

While the police did not disclose the identities of the suspects, there are speculations that they are three employees of opposition-aligned local television station Raajje TV.

Mihaaru is aware that the police arrested Raajje TV's head of programs and two reporters from the opposition protest that are currently underway in capital Male.

There have been two such videos uploaded to YouTube so far. The first depicted a group of men in police combat uniforms, with their faces covered, accusing the government of turning the police institution into a "hub" of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). They warned the government to refrain from "manipulating" and "politicizing" the police force, and to halt issuing unlawful orders by the end of March. The men warned that they would all step up in defence of the institution at the beginning of April, unless the government complied.

A second video followed in less than 48 hours as a "final message". The video featured a group of men in police uniforms with their faces covered, claiming to be members of the police operational team. They called on the public to join the opposition parties' protest on Friday night, warning that they along with the Special Operations (SO) officers would side with the protesters at one point.

However, it remains unclear whether the men in the videos were actually police officers. Maldives Police Service had earlier stated that they were investigating the case, and maintained that they would remain unflappable in the face of disruptive acts such as the videos.

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