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Fearful residents of Maldives capital Male’ cower in their homes as President Nasheed hunts the opposition

Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed’s radical party Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) took to the streets of the capital Male’ today, calling for the public to join another of its violent demonstrations against opposition leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. In recent weeks, President Nasheed has stepped up his persecution of former president and opposition leader Gayoom, leveling repeated public threats at Gayoom reinforced by a series of street demonstrations led by his senior Government officials. Sources report that Nasheed has ordered the arrest of Gayoom and several others tomorrow.

Male’ residents have taken to their homes and the streets of Male’ are quiet tonight as the time draws close to MDP’s threatened march on Gayoom’s private residence Alivaage. MDP has already attempted to over run Gayoom’s residence and drag him out on to the streets twice in recent weeks but have been obstructed each time by stalwart members of the public. President Nasheed continues to encourage his MDP hounds with repeated publicly leveled allegations of corruption against Gayoom and other opposition leaders. Leaders of Gayoom’s party Dhivehi Raiyyithunge Party and its coalition partner People’s Alliance have been harassed by Nasheed and his MDP blood hounds, supported by the police. However, no concrete evidence of any of these allegations has been publicized yet.

On Sunday, police ransacked the private home and corporate offices of People’s Alliance Deputy Leader and Meemu Dhiggaru MP Ahmed Nazim, taking away his young wife in handcuffs. Police also attempted to arrest MP Nazim at the airport last night as he returned from Kuala Lumpur in a much publicized maneuver. However, this attempt failed as the courts refused to issue the required arrest warrant citing insufficient evidence. Police has not clarified whether they arrested MP Nazim’s wife with a warrant or arbitrarily.

Leader of opposition party (Party to Alleviate Poverty) and newly elected MP for Baa Atoll Eydhafushi constituency Ahmed Saleem is being similarly hounded by the police, and his passport confiscated by the authorities. Media reports that courts today issued a warrant to the Immigration Department today to confiscate MP Saleem’s passport. Sources report that MP Saleem has also been threatened with bodily harm by MDP thugs and has been forced to stay at his residence for his own safety. Saleem, an affluent and well known businessman, has reportedly refused an offer by President Nasheed for protection in return for allying with Nasheed’s party in the new parliament.

Contrary to MP Saleem, independent MP for Baa Thulhaadhoo constituency Nazim has accepted Nasheed’s offer of protection from persecution and joined the MDP. Nasheed’s offer also reportedly includes promises of reclamation and harbor development of Nazim’s home island, Thulhadhoo. However, it remains to be seen how the bankrupt Nasheed government would finance these promises.

President Nasheed’s persecution and intimidation campaign against Gayoom, other opposition leaders and opposition MPs takes place in the run up to the swearing in of the new parliament day after tomorrow. It is anticipated that tonight’s planned MDP unrest will be immediately followed by an intensified crackdown by the army and police. The swearing in of the newly elected parliament and its first session will undoubtedly take place under dark clouds of fear and intimidation by President Nasheed as he attempts to hijack the parliament. Daily incidents of regime led persecution of the opposition have taken place since President Nasheed failed miserably in his bid to gain a majority at the parliamentary elections on May 9th.

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