Maldives president resigns after weeks of protests, police mutiny

Published: February 7, 2012

Dr Mohammad Waheed, who was the Vice President of Maldives, takes oath as the President after President Nasheed was forced out of office. PHOTO: MALDIVE PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE

Dr Mohammad Waheed, who was the Vice President of Maldives, takes oath as the President after President Nasheed was forced out of office. PHOTO: MALDIVE PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE In this handout photograph provided by Haveeru News Service, Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed (C, wearing white) walks towards the military headquarters after meeting special police force members in Male on February 7, 2012.  PHOTO: AFP

COLOMBO / MALE: Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed resigned on Tuesday after weeks of demonstrations and a mutiny by the police.

In an address on state television, Nasheed said that it would be better for the country in “the current situation” if he stepped down.

“I don’t want to run the country with an iron fist. I am resigning,” he said.

Mutinying police in Male took over the state broadcaster today and broadcast an opposition-linked station’s calls for people to come on the streets to overthrow the president, witnesses said.

Tensions had escalated after the army arrested a senior judge last month, prompting bitter street protests in the Indian Ocean island chain.

The violence is the worst in a struggle between Nasheed, widely credited with ushering in full democracy with a 2008 election win, and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, whose 30-year rule was widely seen as autocratic.

Sources from Nasheed’s office told journalists in Colombo that a protest had also taken place in front of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) headquarters. Nasheed was safely inside the headquarters and in control of the military, a presidential source told correspondents in Colombo. A handful of MNDF soldiers were also taking part in the demonstration of several hundred people outside the headquarters, along with police who defied orders to break up opposition protests earlier today.

Maldives opposition urges military to detain Nasheed

A Maldives opposition leader said he had asked the military to detain Mohamed Nasheed following his resignation.

“We have asked the military to keep (Nasheed) in protective custody, to face charges of corruption and misuse of power,” Hassan Saeed, who leads the Dhivehi Qaumee Party, told AFP by telephone.

“His rule was tainted with nepotism and corruption, often breaching the constitution,” Saeed said, hours after Nasheed announced his resignation in a televised press conference.

“Nasheed’s resignation gives us a chance to restore the rule of law and judicial independence. Nasheed squandered a golden opportunity to build a nation.”

Nasheed, 44, who was educated in Sri Lanka and Britain, came to power in 2008 after building a pro-democracy movement with local and foreign support in opposition to the 30-year autocratic rule of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Reader Comments (2)

  • whoever
    Feb 7, 2012 - 9:05PM

    Another Muslim country falls….

    Recommend

  • John
    Feb 8, 2012 - 9:03AM

    “A handful of MNDF soldiers were also taking part in the demonstration of several hundred people outside the headquarters”

    this is totally wrong.. soldiers took part in the protest in groups of 100′s.. and they joined several 1000′s of people out side the headquarters.. :)Recommend

More in World