Maldives Police Service revealed yesterday that 181 people had been arrested so far during the week long opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) 'Direct Action' protests, while 21 still remain in custody.
Speaking during a press conference held yesterday Superintendent of Police Abdulla Nawaz alleged that criminal offences were being carried out during the ongoing MDP protests. To that end, he claimed that in addition to targeted attacks on police personnel, public and private property was also damaged.
According to Nawaz, 17 police officers had been injured thus far. He further alleged that wooden clubs, chunks of metal, nail studded clubs, tar and packets of diluted chili had been used by protesters to attack the police.
He also alleged that police officers controlling the protests were being dragged into the midst of the crowd and assaulted.
Nawaz added that police were also continuously subject to verbal abuse as protesters constantly shouted obscenities at police officers during the protests.
Media reports indicate that the protesters had also been at the receiving end of obscenities and varying degrees of attacks by police officers. However, Nawaz refuted such claims made by the media.
He also reiterated that Police had not intentionally pepper sprayed former President Mohamed Nasheed. However, he added that a definitive statement on the matter can only be made after the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) completes the investigation into the incident.