Maldives govt continues to deny venue for opposition coalition’s first rally

MDP deputy chairperson Ali Niyaz (R) pictured at the housing ministry on Wednesday. PHOTO/MDP

MDP deputy chairperson Ali Niyaz (R) pictured at the housing ministry on Wednesday. PHOTO/MDP

Newly formed Maldives United Opposition in a desperate attempt to hold its first rally is knocking the door of every relevant institution as the government continues to sit-on the required permission.

The MUO had announced its plans to hold its first rally on Thursday and had put in a request for permission over a month ago.

MUO top officials had gone down to the housing ministry  hoping to get a reply to the request to hold the rally at the carnival area in the capital Male.

Officials had also met members of the elections commission in a bid to push for the permission.

“Housing ministry said it would give us a response later today [Wednesday]. If we don’t get it, we will go down there again. We will inform the venue once it’s confirmed,” main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) deputy chairperson Ali Niyaz said.

A ban on street protests in the capital Male has been in force since a police crackdown on a three-day protest staged by the MDP last November. The police have since blocked the opposition’s anti-corruption walks as well as marches by the media and civil society.

The newly formed opposition alliance had said it will seek to oust incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and form an interim government to ensure free and fair elections scheduled in 2018.

The Maldives United Opposition brings together the Maldivian Democratic Party, the Adhaalath Party, two of president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s former deputies and his former defence minister.

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