Saturday, January 10, 2009

Maldives: Demonstrators burn Israel flag and picture Tzipi Livni.

Thousands of Maldivians rallied together to condemn Israel’s attacks on Gaza in a show of solidarity for their fellow Muslims on Friday, with one group burning an Israeli flag and a picture of the Israeli foreign minister.

Protesters called for a boycott of all Israeli and American products and urged the government to denounce the attacks at the rally, which was held at the artificial beach in Male’.

Demonstrators carried Palestinian flags and placards reading, “Where are the guardians of human rights?”, “Stop the killings” and “Free Gaza and the Palestinians”.

The protest attracted many key figures including human rights commissioner Ahmed Saleem and human rights ambassador Mohamed “Gogo” Latheef. Addressing the crowd, Aneesa Ahmed, DRP parliamentary group leader called on Israel to stop the violence against the Palestinians.

Several of the speakers at the rally called for a ban on all Jewish investments in the Maldives, with one protester saying, “If we let Jews invest in the Maldives, they might do to us what they did in Palestine. We must impose sanctions on the Americans and the Israelis.”

Another protester, 40-year-old Khadeeja Hassan, who was at the forefront of the demonstration said, “We should provide them financial aid and show the world that we support Palestinians.”

Hussain Shiyan, a carpenter at the demonstration, said the Maldives should cut all ties with Israel. “We don’t want Israeli tourists anymore,” the 31-year old said. “Why should we take the money from Jews when they are mistreating Palestinians?”

An hour into the protest, demonstrators marched towards the United Nations building where they burned a large Israeli flag and a picture of the Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni.

Security was tightened with over 50 police officers deployed to the scene; according to police media coordinator Ahmed Shiyam, the measure was taken to prevent protesters from entering the building.

The demonstration, which had started on the east side of the capital ended at the Sultan Muhammad bin Abdullah mosque in the west, where protesters joined in an evening prayer led by Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, the state minister of Islamic affairs.

Saeed prayed for the Palestinian Mujahids while denouncing the Israelis for their actions.

At the mosque, “Gogo” Latheef said he was very concerned about the Israeli attacks, adding he had personally helped Hamas militants during his time at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon.

He did not wish to comment on the press release issued by the Maldivian government in December, which took a diplomatic view of the attacks. When questioned about the violence at the time, however, foreign minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed condemned the Israeli strikes.

Speaking to Minivan News from Geneva, permanent representative Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed said the Maldives was gravely concerned at the widespread violation of human rights and international humanitarian law caused by Israel’s bombardment and invasion of the Gaza strip.

“Many countries including the Maldives have condemned the Israeli attacks,” he said. “The Maldives condemns the massive disproportionate use of force, in which Israel’s powerful modern army is inflicting collective punishment on one and a half million innocent and defenceless Palestinians in retaliation for the actions of a few.”

The protest was attended by the main opposition party, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party, as well as the Islamic Democratic Party and the Adhaalath Party, which is part of the ruling coalition. The ruling Maldivian Democratic Party was absent.

from Minivan News


Joel said...

Canceling my vacation plans... oh well.

Anonymous said...

thousands of maldivians? stop spreading lies.

here is your "thousands"!

and in any case, they have a right to express their opinions too.

Pastorius said...

The Maldives is a Sharia shithole.