One of the Reethi Rah Resort protesters in handcuffs, with a gash below his right knee. Police denied using excessive force, but the human rights commission has said otherwise. According to the commission, police in riot gear used pepper spray and batons to break up a peaceful protest.
Anni's government has done very poorly in its first real test since taking power. To send in riot police to quash a legal protest is bad enough, but to do so in the early hours of the day can only mean one thing: someone wanted to bundle away the ringleaders before the guests, media, or the public got to know about it. In other words, whoever ordered the riot police did not believe in the right to peaceful protest, guaranteed by the constitution. Or did they hope that rounding off protesters on Reethi Rah would frighten protesters elsewhere from copying them?
Maldives police have already acted unconstitutionally by attempting to break up a peaceful protest; on top of that they've lied to the public. The management of Reethi Rah Resort and the government clearly wanted the protest to die a quiet death, but the brave protesters held out and were firm in their resolve not to let this go like demonstrations of the past.
Latest reports suggest Reethi Rah Resort have been forced to relent. But the government still has a lot of explaining to do. "Sorry" might be a good start.
Anni should be ashamed that Maldivians still have to shed their blood for basic rights enshrined in the constitution.