Maldives govt continues to deny venue for opposition rally

Protesters pictured during a MDP protest last week. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO

Protesters pictured during a MDP protest last week. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO

Newly formed opposition coalition Wednesday bemoaned the continued refusal by the government to grant a venue to hold its rescheduled first rally.

Maldives United Opposition (MUO) was forced to postpone its first rally to Thursday due to bad weather after defying a government u-turn on granting a venue for the rally.

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

MDP secretary general Anas Abdul Sattar said the opposition had proposed three venues from the capital Male to hold the rally and had put in the request to the housing ministry last week.

But the government is yet to respond to the request, he said.

Anas slammed the government for blocking opposition activities.

Government has continuously refused to recognize the MUO with the housing minister Dr Mohamed Muizzu describing it as “illegal.”

Muizzu after announcing the u-turn on the decision to grant a venue for the MUO to hold its first rally, said the government would not give “even an inch” from Maldivian soil to hold unlawful gatherings.

Muizzu also said the he had decided to annul the permit insisting that the government cannot allow a rally intended to incite the public to commit an unlawful act.”

He had said the permit which was originally given to MDP was annulled after the opposition party on its official Twitter account had invited the public to the rally to “topple the government.”

MDP had however, pointed out that the ministry has always allowed for joint political party gatherings.

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) continues to hold its rallies jointly with its coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), MDP argued.

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