A group, reportedly backed by the Indian Embassy in the Maldives, has left the protest after supporters of opposition leader President Abdullah Yameen arrived at the scene.
The group, calling themselves the Maldives Youth Force, had instigated a protest outside of President Yameen’s residence. They had called for the arrest of the opposition leader, citing that the opposition’s India Out campaign is a hate campaign.
The leaders of the Force was previously associated with former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb. Adeeb was the second Vice President of President Yameen. Adeeb was removed from his position and tried for high treason in October 2015. He was subsequently sentenced to 20 years, following his guilty plea on money laundering and embezzlement from the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation. He is the primary state evidence against President Yameen.
A video by the group released on social media said that they ‘stand against hate, racism, and xenophobia’ and they planned to ‘cut him [President Yameen] down to size’.
The said video had been retweeted by figures such as Defense Minister Mariya Didi, diplomats, and social media figures closely associated with the Government. This had led to speculation that this has been financed by Indian Embassy and supported by the administration.
The administration has been attempting to halt the India Out movement. A Presidential decree had criminalized the movement, with Maldives Police Service (MPS) entering residences to remove banners calling for the removal of Indian military personnel stationed in the country. In response the opposition had hung banners with misspelled wordings and iconography.