Opposition says rally will be held as planned, despite police warning

Police maintain security as the opposition holds an 'India Out' rally in Male' City. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Naail Hussain)

Opposition coalition, composed of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People’s National Congress (PNC), states they will hold the mass rally planned for Male’ City in the upcoming weekend, despite warnings by the police.

The ‘Neyva Holhiah’ rally is part of the ‘India out’ campaign led by the opposition leader, former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom against Indian military presence in Maldives.

The police, in a statement on Wednesday evening, warned they will not allow for the rally to be held, citing that there were multiple reasons to believe the opposition isn’t planning to hold the rally under Freedom of Assembly Act.

 “The organizers of the rally are planning on carrying out activities that will hinder the people and public transport services, recruiting members of criminal groups in Male’ to join the rally, and having groups of people sent to different locations to interfere in the maintenance of security during the rally,” said the police.

Police warned they will dismantle the rally and take action against protestors.

In a press conference in response to the police warning on Wednesday, PNC leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla (Adhurey) said that while police claimed they had received information of plans to carry out dangerous activities during the rally, the police had not shared any such information with the opposition coalition.

Adhurey said failed to provide an answer to the question, even though the coalition met with the police earlier Wednesday, and had therefore asked for an answer to the question in writing.

Adhurey said that the police had ‘nothing but excuses’, and were making the claims because they realized the rally would attract a large number of protesters.

“It isn’t that they have received any such information. The government is truly on its last breath. That’s why they aren’t brave enough to allow rally for such a rally,” he said.

Adhurey said that the claims made on the police statement were baseless, and that no one had been questioned regarding such an allegation.

“They are making excuses and making baseless false allegations,” he said.

Adhurey said that the rally will be held on Friday as planned, despite the warning by the police.

“Our rally is a peaceful gathering. We will hold it,” he said.