Maldives police 'uses pepper spray' against Chief Justice supporters

ANI | Updated: Feb 04, 2018 14:56 IST

Dubai [United Arab Emirates], Feb 4 (ANI): The Maldives police has allegedly used force and pepper spray on a group of people gathered outside Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed's residence in Male to stop his arrest.

"#Maldives Police use pepper spray to disperse the protesters," tweeted Maldives Voice.

Moreover, in a video posted on the Twitter handle of Maldives Voice, the police was also seen obstructing the media.

There were scuffles between the protesters trying to protect the Chief Justice from getting arrested and the police dressed in riot gear outside the former's residence.

However, the police denied the reports that they entered his house and arrested him.

"Reports about police entering the Chief Justice's residence and that he was arrested is not true," they tweeted.

Describing the ordeal, Eva Abdulla, Member of Parliament of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), told ANI over the phone, "Absolute breakdown of law and order. The public is on the edge. I am very concerned as we are facing increased unrest. They (police) have just used pepper spray and tear gas on the crowd."

Eva added, "We need our neighbours, especially India to do all that it can to impress upon the Govt of Maldives to implement the SC ruling."

Protests continued in the Maldivian capital as President Abdulla Yameen refused to follow the Maldivian Supreme Court's ruling to release former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed and former Maldivian vice president Ahmed Adeeb.

Yameen had taken over as the President after winning a controversial runoff against Nasheed.

The Maldives was plagued by political unrest in 2015 when Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the country, was arrested on "terrorism" charges, relating to the arrest of a judge during his tenure.

The arrest had led to widespread protests across the country and resulted in the arrest of hundreds of dissidents. The apex court had sentenced Nasheed to 13 years in prison.

In 2016, Nasheed had sought political asylum in the United Kingdom (UK) after travelling there on medical leave from prison.

Ten years ago, the Maldives became a multiparty democracy, after three decades of autocratic rule of former strongman and Yameen's half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. (ANI)