Police officers were spat on during an opposition rally held on Tuesday, the same day the country reported a record number of Covid-19 cases in nearly two months.
The opposition, comprising of former ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the People’s National Congress (PNC), staged a protest on Tuesday.
Police Commissioner Mohamed Hameed, via Twitter, revealed that two officers who were on duty at the protest had been spat on. The commissioner had also shared images.
Noting that the country is still in midst of a pandemic with number of locals infected on the rise, Hameed “strongly condemned” the actions of the protestors.
He added that the matter will be investigated.
The police institution also condemned the act, and assured that those behind it will be penalized.
PNC’s Vice President, Abdul Raheem Abdulla denied that any of the opposition members would confront the police, adding that they “respect and adore” the police and military.
In addition, PPM’s deputy, Ahmed Shiyam claimed to have been told of plans to spit of officers, by a police officer active at the scene.
Noting that the opposition does not even support such acts, Shiyam alleged that this was planned with a purpose.
The opposition has been staging protests since earlier this week, despite continued warnings from health officials regarding the threats of increased Covid-19 transmission as well as appeals to follow infection prevention measures and social distancing rules.
While about 100 people are to have taken part in the protest calling for jailed former President Abdulla Yameen's release as well as the resignation of the incumbent president and speaker, two were taken into police custody.
A total of 137 new Covid-19 cases were reported on Tuesday, including 92 locals. This is the highest number of local infections reported in a single day, since the Covid-19 pandemic reached the Maldives in early March.
The country is currently in phase three of lockdown easing, with public gatherings of less than 30 people allowed as well dine-in services at restaurants and cafés.
Health officials also noted that most of the cases confirmed in the island nation are asymptomatic, and stressed the increased risks of transmission due to this as well.
In a statement released on Tuesday night, police said that demonstrations will only be allowed as per the Health Protection Agency (HPA)’s guidelines. It also revealed that there have been an increase in number police officers on the frontlines of the Covid-19 response efforts, testing positive to Covid-19.