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Maldives Protest Leaders call upon Police and Defence Forces not to provoke peaceful protesters

Male', Maldives. The Maldives civil climate is heating up as Maldives Police Service and Defence Forces yesterday threatened the use of force against protestors at today's planned rally in Male'. The rally, organized by civic associations together with interest groups, is to call upon President Nasheed and his Government to stop their blasphemy against the state religion, Islam.

President Nasheed came to power in 2008 aided by foreign powers based on a promise to allow the open practice of other religions in the 100% Muslim country. Since usurping power, Nasheed has consistently and vocally spoken out against Islam and Muslim practices. These include questioning the Qur'an and Islamic Sharia to the extent of blasphemy against Islam.

Today's protest, scheduled to start in the South east corner of the capital Male', after early evening prayer (A'sr prayer), is expected to be the biggest in the country to date as concerned citizens gather to protest Nasheed's anti-Islam actions and policies. Leaders of the protest expect over 100,000 to gather in Male', with many more gathering in various islands at the same time.

Nasheed's militant party, Maldives Democratic Party, is also staging a march at the same time, with the stated intent of harassing protestors at the civil rally. President Nasheed himself has said that he will be joining the MDP's counter rally to attack the peaceful protest.

This has raised concerns amongst civil leaders who have called upon President Nasheed and his party not to provoke participants at the civil rally. Others have called upon President Nasheed not to participate in such direct action against innocent civilians. However, their pleas appear to have fallen upon deaf ears, as Nasheed reiterated at an MDP rally last evening that he would lead the militant MDP protest today. At the same time, Nasheed's Police and Military have already begun their crackdown on media channels and media personnel, starting at 00:00 hours today.

More updates coming up.

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