28 March 2010. The government has claimed it had “absolutely no role” in the decision made by police on Thursday evening to take senior opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) leaders into custody. DRP Vice presidents Ali Waheed and Umar Naseer, and MPs Ahmed Ilham and Ahmed Mahlouf were among those taken to the nearby prison island, Dhoonidhoo, after being escorted from DRP headquarters at 10:30pm on Thursday night by riot police. They were released at 3am early the next morning. “Police tried to control the area using teargas but some people would still not obey police orders, and we were forced to take 19 people into police custody,” said Sub Inspector Ahmed Shiyam with the Maldives Police Service. Police felt [detaining the leaders] was the easiest way to control the situation.” However running protests by the various parties continued to erupt sporadically across Male’ yesterday afternoon, with supporters for various parties clashing outside the homes of Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid, DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, Home Minister Mohamed Shihab, and Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan. Last night crowds gathered again at the artificial beach during a DRP meeting, which turned violent after a group of people crashed into the party’s gathering and took the microphone away from somebody who was speaking. MDP and DRP supporters threw stones at one another, which led to the arrival of team of police who requested the crowd disperse as it was disturbing the peace. DRP Vice President Umar Naseer continued using the loud speaker in the party’s office to announce that the demonstrations would not stop until President Mohamed Nasheed resigned. Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan said in a press conference this morning that the political demonstrations were regrettable while more than 90 diplomats and senior government officials from some 40 countries were visiting for the donor conference. DRP Spokesperson and Vice President Ibrahim Shareef told Minivan News the party had no intention of disrupting the donor conference and harming the country’s national interest, and said he did not blame police “who are doing a very professional job under the circumstances.” The government must stop using thugs to attack our supporters,” Shareef said.
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