COLOMBO: Riotous members of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) prevented President Mohamed Waheed Hassan from delivering his address to open the Peoples’ Majlis (Parliament) in Male on Thursday.
MDP members were demanding an immediate election to set right the wrong committed by Waheed when he forcibly ousted MDP leader, Mohamand Nasheed, from the country’s presidency following months of country-wide unrest.
MDP members created a ruckus inside the House by grabbing the Speaker’s chair. Outside, party supporters clashed with the police. Protesters broke through the barricades leading to the Peoples’ Majlis and hurled wooden clubs and stones at the police.
Police said 14 of their men were wounded, four of them seriously. At least 34 people were arrested. The leader of the MDP’s parliamentary group, Ibrahim Mohamed Ibu Solih, told the media that in addition to hindering the delivery of the presidential address, the MDP would also hinder parliament sessions continuously until a date for an early presidential poll was announced.
Solih described the Waheed government as an ‘illegal’ one as it had ousted President Nasheed at gun point.
Nasheed had earlier said that it would be not correct for the MDP to take part in parliamentary proceedings as Waheed had no ‘legal stature’ and that he had ‘polluted’ the Majlis by his actions.
Waheed, who was Nasheed’s Vice-President from 2008 to February 7, 2012, had taken over after Nasheed was forced to step down by the country’s police.