P: The truth is none of us were there to protest. We came there normally, because people on the other side came, we also came. We came and just sat there. We didn’t have anything to do, we were just…tomorrow…we were just sitting there. Because we were sitting there, because if people were to attend to different things individually it may lead to unusual circumstances there, maybe that’s why some people decided to take the lead and do it.
Yasir: That’s why, from then on, all of you accepted them as commanders?
P: Maybe that’s why. Perhaps things could go smoothly when someone that people listen to steps up and takes charge of them. I think negotiations and things also happened there, maybe that’s also a reason.
Yasir: What was the purpose of these negotiations?
P: To make us leave.
Yasir: Negotiations were to make you leave?
Yasir: Why did you decide not to go?
P: We weren’t not leaving. We were waiting there for confirmation from the other side that they will not issue any unconstitutional orders to us. We weren’t not going—our intention was to leave as soon as we got that confirmation. We didn’t have any other demands.
Fawaz: You are saying that you demanded a pledge that no unconstitutional orders will be issued to you. You have said before that if you did receive such an order, you would not obey it. That’s the position of most guys. So you don’t have to make that demand, do you? If an unconstitutional order is issued, you refuse to obey. Shouldn’t that be it?
P: Then again they will hasten to arrest.
Fawaz: What about an unconstitutional order in the past?
P: No. We are talking about the future. Now this situation has happened, hasn’t it? So, in the future, if we were to disobey an order, the first thing they’ll do is have the military arrest us. If we decided the matter there one way or another before we left, duty will be easier in the future. Or else, if we left, they’ll probably come and arrest us at home. We were afraid of that too.
Fawaz: Do you believe that police can protest?
P: Police didn’t protest, did they?
Fawaz: Police were there…police were there and refusing to leave when told and insisting they won’t leave until their demands were met. Isn’t that the usual way people protest? They go and stand somewhere. Some people, in Maldives most of the time, we see shouting. But in some protests people sit down in silent protest. Then they state their demands and refuse to leave until they are met. Did anything like that happen in this protest?
P: We didn’t go there to protest. We went there as our daily duty not for a pre-arranged protest. That’s where we are every day as part of our daily duty. Sometimes we even lie about there, eat. So, therefore, we went there that night normally, like any other night. We have to wait there for a while, that’s where we are debriefed and released. We’ll be told when to report back to duty. When all that happened, nobody told us when we would have to report back to duty. Nobody came and informed us when we should report back. In that case, I don’t believe that was a protest.