Police state that some of the items used by rioters who stormed an event held at the national football stadium in Male’ City to celebrate International Day of Yoga on Tuesday morning had come from the office of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).
Rioters had stormed the event, which was attended by foreign ambassadors, diplomats, and members of the general public, attacking some of them and destroying property.
Police said in a statement that they were treating the incident as a serious issue, and it was under investigation by the Serious and Organized Crime Department.
“The departments of Maldives Police Service are working together to investigate the people who took part in this, and do what is necessary to take legal action against them,” said the police.
Police said that preliminary investigative findings showed some of the items used by rioters came from the PPM office.
“The information collected so far establishes that some the items used by some of those involved in this incident were taken from the office of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM),” said the police.
Police said they would also look into what caused the incident, and conduct an internal review of the police response to the incident.
Those with evidence or information pertaining to the incident have been asked to submit it to the web portal set up for case tips.
Police provided assurance they will ensure the anonymity and safety of all individuals who submit information via the portal.
PPM had issued a statement condemning the incident.
Some allege the flags used by the rioters were the same ones used in the “Nabiyyaage Dhifaaugai” rally recently held by PPM.
PPM’s Secretary-General Mohamed Tholal told Sun said the flags used by rioters were similar to the ones used by PPM in its rally, but that it yet remained unclear whether it was the same flags.
“Its possible those were our flags. I am unable to say for sure yet whether those were our flags,” he said.
Tholal said the riot had not been organized by PPM and that the party did not condone violence.
Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof alleged stopping the event by portraying yoga as an anti-Islamic pursuit was a political act. He said that the incident involved PPM and Jamiyyath Salaf.
Salaf has also issued a statement denying involvement in the incident.