Maldives Police Service has been accused of extreme police brutality, after they violently cracked down on a group of youth protesting to mark May Day.
Last night, a number of young people gathered at Rasfannu Beach to express their concerns about sexual harassment in the workplace. They also expressed their dissatisfaction with impunity being given to the perpetrators of such actions, by the authorities.
The protesters then decided to change the location of their protest to the famous "Mercury Hotaa Kanmathi" of Male' City. They sat on the busy area, expressing their concerns about workplace harassment and impunity to such crimes. Police Officers who arrived at the scene asked them to leave the area, a request to which the protesters did not obey.
After that, several police officers violently cracked down on the young protesters. A male Police Officer had allegedly kicked a female protester in the back, while trying to grab her microphone. Several participants accused male officers of touching them while trying to disperse the group. Under the Police Code of Conduct with regards to dealing with protests and gatherings, a male officer is not allowed to touch a female protester.
Furthermore, video footage has emerged on social media of a female Police Officer pepper spraying the protesters at extremely close range, directly into their faces. It is very visible in the footage that she had grabbed the hair of a protester, lift her head up and sprayed the girls face on purpose. While trying to detain a female protester, a number of officers had allegedly dragged the girl on the street with her hands cuffed behind her back. Photos have emerged of the girl lying on the road, with police and protesters surrounding her.
The public and a number of political figures have expressed their concerns regarding the conduct of the police last night. Meanwhile, Maldives Police Service has said that it has launched an internal investigation into last night's events.