Maldives Police Service states they are looking into allegations of excessive use of force in dismantling a demonstration by the opposition PPM-PNC coalition outside the Parliament earlier Monday, resulting in injuries to some of the journalists covering the demonstration.
Police issued a statement on Monday night, stating that they found the injuries to the two journalists – both of them from Channel 13 - “deeply concerning”.
“Based on the preliminary findings in this case, we do not believe the police engaged in any action with the deliberate intention of harming journalists,” said the police.
Police said that they found that after officers warned they were dismantling the demonstration and moved forward with their shields, some of the demonstrators had pushed and shoved journalists, while journalists had pushed at the shields, resulting in some of them falling to the ground.
“The Professional Standards Command is conducting a full review of the incident,” said the police.
One of the journalists injured during the demonstration, Hassan Shaheed had collapsed unconscious on the ground.
He was transported to Sri Lanka for further treatment Monday night.
The incident sparked concern from the Maldives Journalists Association (MJA), which urged the police to protect journalists when dispersing demonstrations.
Monday’s demonstration was staged to coincide with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s arrival to the Parliament to deliver his annual address.
Demonstrators demanded President Solih’s resignation, and for the freedom of opposition leader, former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
According to the opposition coalition, 11 demonstrators were arrested by police, and some sustained injuries in confrontations with the police.