Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has alleged that police had deliberately pepper sprayed former President Mohamed Nasheed in the face during the ongoing MDP 'Direct Action' protest last night and strongly condemned the act.
In a statement, MDP detailed that Nasheed had been pepper sprayed in the face by the police and labeled it as a cowardly act. The statement further claimed that the police special operations officers had marched into the midst of the protesters, sought out Nasheed and pepper sprayed the former President in the face.
MDP further called on the Police Integrity Commission and Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) to investigate the matter. Despite accusations that Nasheed had been pepper sprayed in the face, Police have vehemently refuted the allegations.
Police media official Sub Inspector Hassan Haneef last night admitted that during the mayhem when police officers had gone into the gathered protesters to retrieve the police barricades removed by the demonstrators, police had used pepper spray to thwart any imminent attacks by the enraged crowd. But he stressed that police had not deliberately pepper sprayed Nasheed.
“Pepper spray was used when the protesters erupted with rage after we tried to retrieve the barricades. We don’t know whether or not President Nasheed had felt the effects of the spray. But I won’t say that he would not have felt the effects of the spray if he was among the protesters at the time. But the officers had not intentionally pepper sprayed him on the face,” media official claimed.
The MDP statement also noted that the act by the police against a person who has been assured protection of the security forces further tarnished the institution. MDP also alleged that the act was intended to create further turmoil in the capital Male.
“The party lauds and thanks President Nasheed for his bravery and determination for returning to join the protest after being subject to the intentional attack by the traitor police. The party also takes this opportunity to assure President Nasheed that the party would back the unrelenting efforts to attain victory,” statement read.