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Showing posts from December, 2011

Maldives: President Nasheed's Tourism Master Plan - boot out all Maldivians

Male', Maldives. President Nasheed's Tourism Master Plan is well underway as the year 2011 comes to a close, the target being to force out all Maldivian businesses from the Maldivian Tourism industry. The first step was begun last week, by a Presidential Order to Tourism Minister Mariyam Zulfa to close down all spas in tourist resorts. The reason being given that it was an act to accede to demands by the Civic Coalition which staged a historic 20,000 strong civic protest against Nasheed on December 23 in Male'. However, the Civic Coalition in no way called for the closure of spas. It demanded the closure of all places of prostitution, a valid demand anywhere in the world as prostitution is an illegal trade in human flesh. Nasheed and his government cleverly twisted the Civic Coalition demand and then took it to the highest extent by ordering a ban on all spas. The Maldivian tourism industry's response to this has been very mild, not surprising perhaps as Nasheed h

Maldives Presidency 2013: Has the opposition died even before it was born?

Male', Maldives. As events unfold after the historic civic protest against President Nasheed and his corrupt government, rivalry and bickering between individual opposition leaders has lost the Maldivian civic movement a golden opportunity to capitalize on its grassroots strength. The predicted rising of a strong opposition from the ground base of their collaboration in the December 23rd civic protest has failed to materialize. In fact, it has crash landed, as the largest opposition party, Dhivehi Raiyyithunge Party (DRP) and its breakaway faction under erstwhile leader and ex President Gayoom, Progressive Party of Maldive (PPM) once again enter into public bickering and finger pointing. In separate media conferences last night, each party blamed the other for yesterday's notable victory by Nasheed in the Parliament. The Parliament yesterday passed the Nasheed government's controversial bill on loans and guarantees for the upcoming year, a bill which allegedly seeks par

Maldives Parliament; President Nasheed's military take action on the Parliament floor

Male' Maldives. President Nasheed has again wielded his military to attack opposition MPs, this time on the Parliament floor while the parliament was in session. Media reports are streaming in that military personnel are active inside the parliament hall, forcibly removing opposition members from the hall. Some opposition MPs are reported to leaving on their own, under orders from the military personnel to either leave the parliament floor or be removed with the use of force. Today's Parliament session to debate the various loans proposed by the Nasheed Government was halted due to points of order taken by opposing MPs. Opposition MPs noted that the parliament session on the topic (Government loans) was proceeding out of order as the session period had expired. They pointed out that the legal process for extending the session was for a member to proposed the extension and for another to support it. However, this process had not been followed, with the Speaker of Parliament

Maldives Presidency 2013: Are we witnessing the dying throes of the MDP regime?

Male', Maldives. Maldivian President Nasheed's militant party, Maldives Democratic Party, appears to be in self destruct mode, as it loses its grip on the country. The massive civic protest on December 23 was a wake up call for Nasheed and MDP, as over 20,000 took to the streets calling for Nasheed's resignation. Day by day, Maldives media are choked full on news on failures of the MDP regime, its corrupt deals, its mismanagement of the economy, its attacks on the judiciary and the parliament, police and military action against civilians, and on its iron fisted approach to political opposition. These events are exposing rifts, and even chasms, between Nasheed and his cronies versus the MDP leadership, between the Nasheed government and MDP Parliamentary group, and within the MDP leadership itself. Last night's deplorable attack on MDP Finance Minister Inaz by his own party leaders is the latest in a series of phobic actions by individual members of the MDP top le

Maldives: The Nasheed Presidency - Surviving on Military might?

Male', Maldives. The Nasheed Presidency, now into its 4th year, was rocked to its foundations by the scale of the civic protest against it on December 23rd, 2011. Media estimate that over 20,000 civilians participated in the peaceful protest held at Victory Square, Male', under the aegis of a Civic Coalition of over 90 civic associations and interest groups. While bickering opposition leaders scramble to take steering wheel of the civic protest into their hands, President Nasheed has relied on his military to maintain his grip on the presidency. On the sidelines of military interference in civic affairs, Nasheed's cronies in his militant party (Maldives Democratic Party, MDP) and his Cabinet, continue to throw up various smokescreens in the public eye. Nasheed's military made a decisive entry into the civic forum hours prior to the Civic Protest, by sending intimidatory directives to all media, threatening to close down all media outlets which air anti-government

Maldives Presidency 2013: Is Addu lost to the opposition?

Male', Maldives. As civic opposition to President Nasheed and his corrupt government escalates, a question on many people's mind is, "Who will be the next President?". Opposition leaders in the Maldives at present are a mix of failed presidential candidates, emerging young orators, religious scholars and, of course, defeated ex-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and former members of his cabinet. Within MDP ranks, hardliners and young leaders jockey for position, perhaps under the thinking that the failed MDP government would need a new mask to contest Presidency 2013. Regardless of which individuals emerge as candidates for Presidency 2013, there is no escaping that Addu Atoll, the country's southern most atoll, represents the deciding vote in the upcoming elections. With a registered population of over 30,000, owning over 70% of private businesses in Maldives, controlling over 50% of local investment in the tourism industry, Adduans represent the most influenti

Maldives President Nasheed takes strong arm measures against JP leader Gasim Ibrahim

Male', Maldives. In more strong arm measures to intimidate his political opponents, President Nasheed has sent his police officers to Jumhooree (Republican) Party Leader Gasim Ibrahim's resort, Paradise Island. Maldives Police Service officers tonight raided Paradise Island, using as a front the trumped up charges by the Nasheed Government last night that Paradise Island spas were engaging in prostitution services. A Maldives Police Spokesperson tonight confirmed that the police raid was at the request of the Ministry of Tourism, and that police were even now active on Paradise Island. Media report that the Manager of the Paradise Island resort has been summoned to appear at the Police Headquarters. Popular philanthropist Gasim Ibrahim today vehemently denied the Nasheed Government's allegations about his resort spa, stating that "these are heinous lies trumped up by the Government because I have spoken out against them in defense of the judicial system".

Maldives President Nasheed retaliates against JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim

Male', Maldives. President Nasheed today took retaliatory action against Leader of Jumhooree Party (Republican Party), Gasim Ibrahim. Just hours after Gasim Ibrahim warned President Nasheed that he would not stand aside and watch him destroy the Maldives, Nasheed has ordered the closure of spa facilities at Gasim's resort Paradise Island. Nasheed's closure order was made on trumped up charges of "suspected" prostitution activities at the spa facilities. 'We will not stand aside and allow you to destroy our nation. Do not even think that you can do it", said Gasim last night, speaking on a political analysis program (Fasmanzaru) on independent TV channel VTV. Gasim Ibrahim is one of the most respected businessmen and philanthropist in the country with a strong populist following amongst the citizenry. Gasim Ibrahim was also the Speaker of the last Constitutional Assembly which passed the current Constitution of the Maldives. Gasim's strong cond

Maldives Opposition Leader Gasim Ibrahim warns President Nasheed to stop destroying the country

Male' Maldives. Maldives Jumhooree (Republican) Party Leader Gasim Ibrahim has warned President Nasheed that he would not stand aside and watch him destroy the country. 'We will not stand aside and allow you to destroy our nation. Do not even think that you can do it", said Gasim, one of the most respected businessmen and philanthropist in the country with a strong populist following amongst the citizenry. Gasim Ibrahim was also the Speaker of the last Constitutional Assembly which passed the current Constitution of the Maldives. Pulling in his financial and follower base, Gasim almost single handedly brought in over 60,000 votes which carried Nasheed into power in the second round of the Presidential elections, 2008. Gasim resigned from his post as Nasheed's Home Minister, claiming divergent political views between himself and Nasheed. Speaking on a political analysis program (Fasmanzaru) on independent TV channel VTV, Gasim noted that President Nasheed has s

Maldives Media Freedom Under Threat from President Nasheed.

Male', Maldives The historical civic protest in the Maldives on December 23rd, 2011 saw an escalation of President Nasheed's intimidatory tactics against free media in the country. Under Nasheed's direct order as Commander in Chief of the Maldives Military, the Military had sent a written warning to all free media, warning against the airing of anti-government demonstrations. The military warning was received by all media channels and print media just hours prior to the mass gathering at Victory Square to protest against President Nasheed and his corrupt Government. A few days prior to the protest, Maldives Police arrested Ali Ahsan, web designer and online news editor, for creating a website which provided updated news on the upcoming Civic Protest. In further actions against free media, President Nasheed shutdown Maldives youth website on the day of the Civic Protest, in a move to stifle dissenting voices against his corrupt government. The websi

Adhaalath Party leaders attacked at Victory Square

Male', Maldives. Adhaalath Party leader Shaikh Imran Abdullah and Chief Spokesperson Shaikh Mohamed Shaheem were attacked by a gang of thugs at Victory Square earlier this afternoon. The two Shaikhs, respected leaders in the Maldivian community, had given stirring speeches to the gathered masses at the Civic Protest against President Nasheed on December 23, 2011. Both Shaikhs had strongly challenged the legitimacy of several of President Nasheed's actions, terming these anti Islamic and illegal. Maldives Civic Protest on December 23rd was the largest the country had seen to date, with an estimated 20,000 civilians participating in the 8 hour peaceful protest against President Nasheed and his corrupt government. The protest has sent shivers up the regime and its militant party, with party interim Chair Reeko Moosa Maniku calling for direct action against protestors and the arrest of all leaders of the Civic Coalition and opposition parties. reports that both

MDP Interim Chair Reeko Moosa delusional over who is Head of Government?

Male', Maldives. In an interesting twist to the clash between President Nasheed's government and the Civic Coalition, MDP Interim Chairperson and corrupt businessman Reeko Moosa Maniku has said that he would never allow Nasheed to even hear out the Civic Coalition demands. Speaking to a small group of MDP hardliners inside the party meeting hall, Reeko Moosa said he would ensure that demands made directly to Nasheed were never heard. He claimed that Civic Coalition demands would only be heard if the demands were sent to MDP, and only those demands that MDP found acceptable would be submitted by the party to President Nasheed. "Any negotiation must be with MDP, not Nasheed or the Government", he said. "If any party or coalition has an issue they want to raise, they must raise it with MDP. They must negotiate with MDP", said Reeko Moosa. These inflammatory statements come within hours after Nasheed's Press Secretary announced that Nasheed would con

Maldives Civic Coalition: a serious challenge to Nasheed's Presidency?

Male' Maldives. As events pan out 24 hours after the biggest civic protest in the history of the Maldives, many wonder whether the organizing coalition of the December 23rd protest could be a serious challenge to Mohamed Nasheed's Presidency. Media estimates that over 20,000 civilians participated in the 8 hour protest at Victory Square, Male', against President Nasheed and his corrupt government. Although prior to the protest, the Civic Protest leaders consistently reiterated that there was no political motivation or objective in the protest, individual leaders made several references to political objectives during their addresses to the thousands of civilians gathered at their call. Speaking to thundering applause by the protesters, Shaikh Ilyas Hussain stated that politics and religion cannot be separated. The very thought of making such a separation is a though to weaken and destabilize religion, he said. Sheikh Ilyas Hussain, a youthful and charismatic orator, is

Maldives President Nasheed jittery over the strength of the Civic Coalition

Male', Maldives. Maldives President Nasheed's Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair (Juha) said today that the Nasheed regime will consider the five demands made by the Civic Coalition at yesterday's mass protest against Nasheed and his corrupt Government. Media estimates yesterday's 8 hour civil gathering at Victory Square, Male' at about 20,000 civilians. However, in an effort to play down the largest civil gathering in the country to date, Press Secretary Zuhair estimated the protestors to be a mere 3,000. This gross underestimation could be an indication of the degree of panic in MDP top ranks at the strength of civil opposition to their rule. Zuhair said that the Government requires time to consider the Civic Protest demands as these demands were not specific enough to enable immediate action. In further moves to downplay the significance of yesterday's mass protest against President Nasheed, the MDP Government has been portraying the protest as one of rel

Maldives President Nasheed defeated in face-off by Civic Coalition

Male', Maldives. Maldives President Nasheed suffered a humiliating public defeat yesterday in a face off with civic associations and interest groups. In an attempt to challenge the popularity support behind the Civic Coalition, President Nasheed organized a counter rally at the same time in a nearby location. The anti-civic rally hosted by Nasheed was only attended by close kin and cronies, supported by a sprinkling of MDP hardliners, Government Ministers, heads of Government corporations, political appointees in key government positions and party leadership figures. MDP insiders report that many in the MDP leadership had been personally called by Nasheed and their attendance demanded. In contrast, thousands of civilians flocked to the Civil Coalition protest against President Nasheed and his corrupt government. The civic protest lasted 8 hours and showed no signs of diminishing numbers. Civic Coalition leaders disperesed their supporters quickly just after midnight when Nash

Maldives Civic Coalition gives President Nasheed a wake up call

Male', Maldives. Maldives Civic Coalition stated last night that it has not scheduled a second civil gathering in order to give President Nasheed time to fulfil the gathering's five demands. Hundreds of Maldivians gathered yesterday at 4pm for an 8 hour vigil to show dissent against President Nasheed and his corrupt regime. The civil protest, which was supported by sister rallies all over the country, was the largest the country had seen in decades. It comes mid way through the 5 year term of MDP President Nasheed, elected on the back of a coalition funded by Maldivian businessman turned politician Gasim Ibrahim and foreign powers. The scale of civic participation in last night's protest clearly demonstrate his growing unpopularity amongst the majority of the populace. Additionally, Maldivian civic commentary in mass media and social media channels document that President Nasheed is now deeply hated and blamed by the majority of the populace for the country's back

Maldives Civic Protest announces end to vigil, under threat by Nasheed's party

Male', Maldives. 00.00 24th Dec Maldives Civic Protest leaders announce an end to their eight hour peaceful gathering at Victory Square, Male'. This announcement comes amidst threats by President Nasheed's MDP of direct action against civilians and death threats to civic leaders and opposition party leaders. In closure, the protest has called upon President Nasheed to fulfill its demands: immediate removal statues of dieties in Addu, apologize for UNHRC Pillay's baseless attack on Islam, stop sale of alcohol in inhabited islands and close all prostitution houses in Maldives. Protest leaders cautioned that MDP may still instigate violence and arson in the streets, and called upon the hundreds of civilians at its vigil to maintain peace and not to rise to provocation or harassment by MDP. In reply, MDP announced that it would stage a second demonstration tomorrow afternoon.

Maldives President Nasheed's MDP taking direct action against peaceful civic gathering

Male', Maldives. 23.20pm Maldives President Nasheed's militant party, Maldives Democratic Party (MDP), warn peaceful civic protest to disperse within one hour or that they would take direct action. Hardline Interim Chairperson Reekon Moosa Maniku called the civic gathering a revolutionary action and called upon all MDP members to join him in stopping the gathering. However, according to reports from media on site, so far the hundreds of civilians gathered peacefully at Victory Square have not carried out any actions that could be termed as 'revolutionary'. The protestors have raised three demands to President Nasheed, all based on the moderate Islamic stand taken by the civic coalition. MDP supporters at this evening's preparatory meeting for direct action are reportedly calling for the arrest of PPM Leader and Maldives ex-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim, PPM member and ex-PA Leader Abdulla Yameen, and Adhaalath Party Reli

Maldives ruling militant party MDP prepare for a night assault on civic gathering

Male', Maldives. 11.00 pm. Maldives ruling party, the militant Maldives Democratic Party, is being revved up for a night assault on thousands of civilians gathered at Victory Square, in the capital Male'. Hardline interim Chairperson Reeko Moosa Maniku has called upon MDP supporters to join him in confronting the civilian protesters. Addressing a meeting at the MDP Hall minutes ago, Reeko Moosa Maniku reiterated that MDP must take to the streets to uphold its regime. Reeko Moosa, President Nasheed's nominee for the post, has been the recipient of millions of dollars of Maldivian state funds, under the guise of mega construction projects. Most projects were awarded without bid, advance payments made Moosa Maniku ahead of actual work and none of the projects have been completed. It is widely speculated that a percentage of these funds are pumped back into MDP coffers while the rest is pocketed by Reeko Moosa Maniku, President Nasheed and other MDP leaders participating

Maldives Civic Protest warns President Nasheed of possible new direction

Male', Maldives. 10.20 pm Maldives Civic Protest demands that President Nasheed remove SAARC statues in Addu within one hour or face the consequences of a change in the direction of the protest. Statues erected by the Nasheed regime ahead of the November SAARC summit sparked riots in the country, as images of demi-gods of other religions were publicly displayed in Maldives for the first time in history. Removal of these statues is one of three demands made by Civic Protest earlier this evening. Hundreds of civilians continue their vigil well into the night as the Maldives Civic Protest continues without abatement. Civic leaders and leading figures and MPs of major opposition parties continue to address the civic gathering, to vocal cheering and support. Gasim Ibrahim, Leader of Jumhooree Party and MP, called on the gathering to maintain peace and to withstand provocation by unruly MDP elements. He stated that peaceful protest is a right. Deputy Leader of Progressive Party o

Maldives President Nasheed order riot police to crackdown on peaceful Civic Protest

Male', Maldives. 8.40 pm Maldives President Nasheed orders riot police to crack down on peaceful civic gathering at Victory Square, in the capital Male'. Media on site report that riot police, present in great numbers at Victory Square since mid afternoon, are preparing to move into the large gathering. The civilian gathering is currently estimated to number over 12,000 strong, the largest such civil protest in the Maldives to date. Nasheed's order comes minutes after protest leaders air the demands on the gathering. Announce by Sheikh Imran, the gathering has two demands: 1) removal of all statues erected for the SAARC Summit in November 2011; and 2) an apology by President Nasheed to the Maldivian people for UNHRC Pillay's anti-Muslim comments in the Maldives a few weeks ago. The rationale given for the latter demand is that Ms. Pillay visited the Maldives on Nasheed's invitation. Protest leaders announced that if these demands were not met, the meeting at

Maldives Civic Protest continues into the night ... what next?

Male', Maldives. 8.00 pm. Hundreds of Maldivian civilians continue their peaceful protest against President Nasheed and his corrupt government, in Victory Square, in the capital Male'. The Civic Coalition which began at 4pm this afternoon continues to gain in strength and numbers as more and more civilians continue to join the gathering. President Nasheed's attempt to counter the gathering with a gathering of MDP hardliners and family members failed miserably as it failed to draw enough numbers to the meeting point, Artificial Beach. The meeting petered out after Nasheed's address to his followers in which he lambasted the civil leaders and participants at the Civic Coalition Protest. Nasheed quickly dispersed his faithful and disappeared amidst heavy military security. Speculation is rife in the capital that the military will come out in strength if the protest should continue late into the night. In a joint press conference with Police Commissioner Ahmed Fasee

Maldives youth website shutdown as President Nasheed clamps down on dissenters

Male', Maldives. Maldives President Nasheed shutdown Maldives youth website in a move to stifle dissenting voices against his corrupt government. The website,a popular site amongst Maldivian youth, brings up to date news on youth related issues. It came to prominence in the up to date reporting on the Youth demonstrations against the Nasheed regime in May 2011. Nasheed, who came to power in 2008, is presently battling dissent from the majority of the population, as the Maldivian citizenry enters the 4th year of poverty and hardship under his presidency. Grossly mismanaging public governance, Nasheed has the dubious record of the highest rates of corruption, nepotism and inflation in the sub region. The scale of civilian participation in today's peaceful protest against Nasheed and his government amply shows his rising unpopularity and increasing anger amongst the populace.

Maldives Civic Protest heats up as Police enter the civilian crowd in large numbers

Male', Maldives, 6.00pm The Civil Protest staged against President Nasheed and his corrupt government has heated up as police personnel in riot gear enter the civilian crowd in large numbers and began pushing the civilians around. The gathering has been peaceful so far, with the large mass of civilians listening to speeches by civic leaders and opposition leaders. The civilian gathering includes large numbers of women of all ages. Police and military personnel dressed in riot gear have been gathering at the site since mid afternoon. Roads leading to the protest site were blocked and the military presence shown, in an effort to intimidate civilians streaming to the site. Maldives police have earned a reputation for brutality against civilians during the short period of Nasheed's regime. The use of batons and riot shields against defenseless civilians and tear gas has been common in almost all civilian protests since Nasheed took power in November 2008.

MDP ends anti-civic protest ... a precursor to police action against civilians?

Male', Maldives. 6.00 pm. Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) has ended its anti-civic protest, staged this afternoon by Maldives President Nasheed to counteract a civil gathering held by civic associations and interest groups to protest against Nasheed and his corrupt government. This dispersal of the MDP gathering could be the precursor to military and police action against the mass of civilians gathered a few blocks away. at the Tsunami Monument area. Media reports indicate that the large civil gathering continues with opposition leaders and religious leaders speaking to vociferous support from protesters. It is reported that the gathering will pray sunset prayers (Maghrib prayers) at the protest site.

Maldives President Nasheed lashes out against Civic Coalition Protest

Male', Maldives, 5.00pm Maldives President Nasheed lashes out against civilians gathered at Male' Tsunami Monument area to protest against Nasheed and his corrupt government. Addressing hard liners gathered an anti-civic protest organized by his militant party, Maldives Democratic Party (MDP), Nasheed condemned the civic protest, calling it a fundamentalist gathering. However, media reports indicate that mass of civilians at the civic gathering to be of all walks of life and all ages, with no fundamentalist rhetoric being aired so far. Media reports indicate that the civic protest to be in far greater numbers than the counter rally led by Nasheed. Having said so, Nasheed lost track of his speech and went on to speak on the economy and taxation issues. It is speculated that this deviation in Nasheed's hardline rhetoric could be to appease a strong cohort of MDP National Congress which had objected to the anti-civic rally organized by Nasheed and crony Reeko Moosa Mani

Maldives Democratic Party's anti-civic protest begins

Male', Maldives, 4.05pm. The anti-civic protest organized by President Nasheed's ruling party, Maldives Democratic Party, against the civilian protest organized by civic associations and interest groups has begun at the Artificial Beach, Male'. However, Haveeru News reports that President Nasheed is not yet in attendance. Nasheed had said publicly that he would lead the MDP protest. Media reports indicate high numbers of civilians in attendance at the civil protest. More civilians are streaming to the site, in spite of military road blocks. They also report strong military and police presence in riot gear at the protest site. More updates coming up.

Maldives Civil Protest gains momentum in Male' and the islands

Male', Maldives. 3.50 pm Maldives Civil Protest against President Nasheed and his corrupt government gains momentum as civilians continue to gather at the "Tsunami monument" on the South eastern corner of the capital, Male'. Police and Military Forces have cordoned off the area and have blocked all roads leading to the rally site. Civil protests in the Maldives have been marked by police brutality during the Nasheed regime. Organizers of today's protest have called upon all participants to maintain peace at all costs during the protest. They have requested civilians not to respond to harassment or incitement by anti-civic elements led by Nasheed's party, Maldivian Democratic Party. protest leaders have also called upon Maldives Police Service and Defence Forces not to incite civilians by heavy handed tactics during the course of the protest. Municipal Councils in various islands are also reported to have stepped up actions against civil protestors in the

Maldives Military and Police in force at civil protest site

Male', Maldives. 3.33 pm. Maldives Military and Police personnel are deployed in force at the site of the civil protest against President Nasheed this afternoon. In spite of this intimidatory presence of armed forces at the protest location, last minute preparations are underway by protest organizers. The civil protest is organized by civic associations together with several interest groups, withe the stated intent of a peaceful gathering to show dissent against President Nasheed and his Goverment's anti Islamic actions and policies. President Nasheed came to power in 2008, with support from foreign powers, based on his promise to introduce other religions to the 100% Islamic state. At the same time, Nasheed's militant party is preparing for its anti-civic rally just a few blocks away, at the "Artifical Beach", Male'. Nasheed has stated publicly that he will be at the forefront of the MDP's anti-civic rally. Police and Armed Forces presence at this