Human Rights Commission of the Maldives

Press Release: PR - 009/2015

Published on 01-05-2015

Human Rights Commission of the Maldives notes that from the field monitoring, serious concerns from a human rights perspective were observed in the May Day protest. Although the protest started in a peaceful manner, the Commission notes that the protestors started to use derogatory language and called for physical harm to persons and that when protestors headed towards the Islamic Center for Maghrib prayers, the roads leading to the area were barricaded, resulting in confrontations and the use of pepper spray and tear gas.

The Commission also notes that protestors threw water bottles and rocks at the police and that the vehicle used by protestors was driven into the barricades in a manner that could have resulted in civilian and police casualties. Protestors also threw a stinging powder which even affected the observers who were behind the police line.

The Commission notes that a number of protestors were arrested and that male police officers were involved in arresting women. The Commission was unable to conduct a quick assessment to ascertain the status of arrestees and those who were injured, due to not being able to gain access to the arrestees inside the Police Headquarters.

Furthermore, the Commission received reports that reporters were obstructed from covering the protest, that reporters sustained injuries from the police and news media were discriminated. The Commission also notes that a police officer was badly beaten and that protestors threw bottles and rocks targeted at specific police officers.

The appeals issued in the press statement of the Commission prior to the protest were not heeded and peacefulness was not maintained during the protest.

At this crucial time, the Commission calls upon all concerned parties to give priority to peace and national interest and in establishing law and order.