A group of Maldivians have staged protest outside the Malé residence of Abdulla Shahid; the current Minister of Foreign Affairs and also the President of the 76th United Nations General Assembly.
The protestors claim that Shahid had been complicit in the strengthening of India's influence over the Maldives. Some of the protestors have characterised the Foreign Minister as a "traitor".
Several officers of the Maldives Police Service had attempted to break up the protest. Security at the Minister's residence had also been heightened; armed Maldives National Defence Force servicepeople stood guard outside.
Minister Shahid visited the Maldives in his capacity as the President of the 76th United Nations General Assembly. The government had conferred the Order of Izzuddin on Minister Shahid in a ceremony held tonight.
In 2018, during the Yameen administration, Shahid had appeared on live Indian TV and called for an invasion of the Maldives by the Indian military. Shahid had also publicly called for sanctions to be placed on the Maldives, and had travelled to several countries to campaign for such sanctions.
The Order of the Rule of Izzuddin is granted to individuals to honour their services at home and abroad. Until Shahid, the award had never been conferred on an individual who had explicitly called for a foreign military invasion of the Maldives.
Shahid was conferred the award during a ceremony held tonight, on the eve of National Day. He had been conferred the award for "the pride he had won for the country in the international community, and for his development of Maldivian diplomacy".
National Day is celebrated to commemorate the national folk-hero, Muhammad Thakurufaanu, who successfully freed the Maldive Islands from Portuguese domination. People on social media have heavily criticized the government's decision to honour an individual who had worked to deprive the Maldives of its sovereignty.
President Solih had previously conferred this award on Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.