Allegations have emerged that opposition activists are engaging in harassment of MPs belonging to the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) within the parliament compound. Several incidents of such harassment have reportedly occurred in recent weeks.
Opposition activists have been seen attending parliamentary sittings and observing the proceedings from the gallery. However, it is during the breaks and after the sittings that they allegedly engage in aggressive behavior towards MDP MPs, creating a hostile environment within the parliament premises.
Journalists, have themselves experienced firsthand the alarming encounters between opposition activists and MDP MPs. On one occasion, during a parliamentary break, journalists from Maldives Republic were seated at a nearby restaurant and observed a middle-aged woman, believed to be a supporter of former President and current Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, following an MDP MP into the restaurant and hurling abuses at him. The harassment continued for several minutes even after the MP sat at a table. When questioned, the MP, who spoke on condition of anonymity, shared his account of the ongoing harassment.
The MP revealed that such incidents have become distressingly common, with individuals aligned with Nasheed allegedly moving freely within the parliament building and specifically targeting senior MDP MPs. This alleged harassment has raised concerns among lawmakers about the preservation of a conducive working environment.
While no official complaints have been filed by any MPs, Parliament’s spokesperson Hassan Ziyau acknowledged that viewers and MPs often converge at the exit of the gallery and parliament chamber. This convergence occurs as the exit to the lobby area is the same from both the chamber and the gallery, leading to encounters between activists and MPs.
The ongoing incidents have highlighted the importance of protecting the rights and safety of lawmakers, regardless of their political affiliations, to ensure a healthy and functioning democracy in the Maldives.
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