Ambassador-at-Large at the Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Naseer, told the Colombo Gazette that the wrong picture has been portrayed over the May Day arrests.
Naseer, who is in Sri Lanka to brief foreign diplomats based in Colombo with regards to the incident, said that the Maldives police acted in accordance with the law after being provoked.
US Secretary of State John Kerry had raised concerns over the arrests when he visited Sri Lanka recently and had talks with the Sri Lankan Government.
Naseer however said that Sri Lanka had not spoken on the issue and the Maldives will seek Sri Lanka’s support in the face of international criticism.
Over 200 protesters were arrested following the May Day protest in the Maldives which was staged by the opposition, including the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP).
The MDP accused the Maldives Government of blocking freedom of expression but Naseer insisted that the May Day protest could have gone ahead if it was peaceful.
He said that the organisers of the protest had initially assured the police that the protest will be peaceful but had later protested with the motive of seeking support to overthrow the Government.
Naseer said that the protesters had also attempted to promote Islamic radicalism through the protest march. Most of those arrested have since been released. (Colombo Gazette)