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Opposition hold rallies protesting "selling off Maldives"

DIGEST-ENG-29-08-2020-Maldives

The opposition coalition of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People's National Congress (PNC) hosted demonstrations in different parts of Maldives on Friday, in violation of the Health Protection Agency (HPA)'s safety guidelines.

The protest staged in capital Male', the COVID-19 hotspot in the country, is being investigated by Maldives Police Service for participants' failure to exercise social distancing measures and wear face masks.

Despite the opposition alliance formerly affirming that protests will not be held in the Greater Male' Region, a large number of participants joined the motorcycle rally that took place on the capital's streets.

Opposition protesters took to the streets, voicing concerns over the incumbent administration "selling off Maldives" and calling for the released of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, currently serving a five-year jail sentence on money laundering charges.

Claiming that Yameen was the "solution" for the country's issues, participants of the demonstration also called for President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's resignation.

As the COVID-19 risk level for the island nation is currently at an alarming alert level nine, authorities are constantly requesting the public to adhere to safety guidelines and prevent further spread of the virus.

The opposition alliance also held a rally at sea last Tuesday, near Maafushi in Kaafu Atoll, calling for the release of the ex-president.

The alliance of PPM and PNC held a series of protests in late July with the same demands. However, the opposition had decided against proceeding with the protests later at the time, due to the upsurge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Maldives.