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First lady responds to harassment experience in Hiya flats area

23 September 2023, MVT 05:09
First Lady campaigning in the Hiyaa Flats area yesterday.
23 September 2023, MVT 05:09

First lady Fazna Ahmed was subjected to verbal harassment by supporters of the opposition in the Hiya Flats area of Hulhumalé on Sunday evening.

She had been visiting the area to carry out door-to-door campaigns in support of her husband and the presidential candidate of the Maldivian Democratic Party, president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

As the first lady arrived in the area, some people had gathered and proceeded to shout and verbally harass her. Offensive language can be heard on the videos circulated on social media which show people shouting at the First Lady and following behind her as she walked towards Hiyaa flats.

A video also shows one of the people who shouted at Fazna being handcuffed and taken into police custody.

The media official of the police said the man was detained by the Police for obstructing police duty and disobeying police orders. However, the man has since been released according to the police media official.

The first lady went on to visit some of the flats in the area and campaign for her husband in spite of the incident.

Members of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) have expressed their unhappiness at how the first lady was treated.

Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof tweeted that the Hiya flat area is not under the control of any specific group of people and that every citizen had the right to campaign freely. He condemned attempts to attack the First Lady saying it was extremely cowardly.

The first lady responded to the harassment experience in a Facebook post, and assured the people that that she will not back down despite the incident.

The first lady posted, "That despicable act actually benefited me. People came and shook hands with me, comforted me, and requested to take photographs with them. I was even invited to visit flats which were not in my schedule." She said she will visit these flats after completing the rest of her scheduled door to door campaigns. She also explained that she was not able to visit the flats on the same day because it was time for Maghrib prayer and she had another meeting scheduled for 6:30 pm.

She wrote that she knew the two men who followed behind her while verbally harassing her were from the opposition and that without the presence of the two people, people would not have known of her visit to the Hiyaa Flats.

In her Facebook post, the first lady said that the reason she knew the two men were from the opposition was because of the response received from Ibrahim Shujau, the Council Member representing Hulhumalé constituency. She explained that Hulhumalé MP Ali Niyaz who was by her side at that time called Shujau, who said he was out of the country and " will look in to the matter". The first lady said Niyaz even called and messaged the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Presidential candidate Dr. Mohamed Muizzu who did not answer the phone or respond to the message.

"He has not responded yet" wrote Fazna.

First Lady Fazna campaigning in the Hiyaa Flat area

The first lady said the opposition cannot dodge the matter and claim that it was the public who had come out and called her "traitor".

"The general public will not harass me. This is not the first time I came out on the road," Fazna said.

The first lady said that even though she was not bothered by the harassment, it was a serious matter. Thanking the people who were calling to check up on her, Fazna said she will remain steadfast in her campaign efforts for president Solih.

"With the grace and will of Allah, our candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih will win the election."

The first lady started her door to door campaign activities on Sunday for the second round of elections. She campaigned in Villimalé on Sunday before she went to the Hiyaa Flats on Monday.

Dr. Muizzu, the candidate of the PPM and People's National Congress (PNC) will be contesting against president Solih in the second round of the election to be held on September 30.

Dr. Muizzu received 101,635 votes in the first round while president Solih received 86,171 votes. President Solih has strengthened his campaign efforts after looking into the reasons for the lower number of votes received during the first round.