Maldives Police Service is in hot waters again as they receive backlash over the use of excessive force to control the protesters during last night’s protest against sexual harassment and to provide just punishment to those who are charged with such crimes.
The protest held last night to raise awareness against the rise in sexual harassment cases was organized by the ‘Rise-Up MV’ movement. A peaceful protest as per the HPA guidelines was planned near the Rasfannu area. However, the protest became too aggressive as protesters went on to the busy Majeedhee Magu to demand justice for sexual harassment victims.
Police monitoring the protest arrested several protesters and while doing so had used unnecessary and excessive force, according to witnesses. Moreover, some of the protesters that were arrested got injured in the process and police used pepper spray to control the crowd.
Several accusations are being made in regard to the police’s conduct. Some accuse the police of using inappropriate language to communicate with the crowd and journalists on the scene and unnecessarily using pepper spray to injure protesters.
Maldives Police Service later stated that the Professional Standards Command and Use of Force Review Committee has launched an investigation into the conduct of police officers during last night’s protest.
Members of the Parliament and key political activists have criticized the Maldives Police Service conduct during a peaceful protest against a very concerning issue. Government has faced several allegations of covering up sexual harassment scandals, including the very high profile case of former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed who is still at large despite the convictions.