PNC leader: The people have decided to discontinue protests

PNC leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla is flanked by police during protests in Male' City on July 28, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

People’s National Congress (PNC)’s leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla said on Monday that “the people” have decided to discontinue the series of protests held in the streets of Male’ City for the time being.

The series of protests which began last week were led by leaders of the opposition PPM-PNC coalition, and held under the slogan “One Voice”. However, Abdul Raheem said on Monday night that the protests weren’t organized by the opposition coalition, but by “the people”.

“The people have now decided to discontinue the protests,” he said

The former Fonadhoo MP said the people made the decision in light of the surge in coronavirus cases.

Despite Abdul Raheem’s attempt to distance himself and the opposition coalition from the protests, it had been the opposition coalition which had called for the protests, and the protests had begun and ended in front of the PPM headquarters each night.

He has previously accused the government of deliberately manipulating numbers to inflate the number of positive coronavirus cases and intimidate the protesters, and stated that the protests will continue.

The surge in coronavirus cases follows greater public movement with the relaxation of the lockdown on Male’ – the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Maldives – in July. More than 860 people have tested positive over the last one-week period alone.

Maldives has 4,164 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 215 new cases recorded on Sunday – marking the biggest single-day spike in coronavirus cases to be recorded in the country. 2,643 patients have since recovered, while 18 have died from complications.

The country currently has 1,489 active cases. 84 of the coronavirus patients are hospitalized.