‘India Out’ protesters released from police custody

Opposition coalition's 'India Out' protest in Male' City on May 18, 2022. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Naail Hussain)

The people arrested from an ‘India Out’ protest staged by the opposition on Wednesday night have been released from police custody. 

The protest was staged after police arrested two people on suspicion of planning and organizing the ‘India Out’ movement – banned with a presidential decree last April. One of the suspects arrested was former Hoarafushi MP Mohamed Ismail. 

A police spokesperson told Sun that authorities arrested three protestors, all of whom were released sometime Wednesday night. 

The protestors, armed with ‘India Out’ banners and flags, began the protest from in front of the PPM headquarters at approximately 09:00 pm Wednesday. They later headed towards the Majeedhee Magu, at which point the riot police dispersed the protestors. 

PPM alleges police used excessive force to dismantle the protest. 

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih issued a decree banning the ‘India Out’ movement on April 21, deeming it a threat to national security.

All state institutions have been instructed to enforce the decree.

However, the opposition continued to put up banners and graffiti the walls of buildings with slogans linked to the movement.

President Solih said in his decree that the ‘India Out’ movement was a deliberate attempt to hinder the longstanding relations between Maldives and India, and international efforts to maintain security in the region, and that incitement to hatred against a specific country put Maldives at risk of loss of peace and stability, huge economic and social burden, and isolation in the international arena.

PPM has filed a lawsuit over the decree, calling the move an infringement on the right to freedom of expression.