Maldives leader quits amid protest

2012-02-07 09:33

Male, Maldives – President Mohamed Nasheed announced his resignation following weeks of public protests over his controversial order to arrest a senior judge.

Nasheed presented his resignation in a nationally televised address today after police joined the protesters and then clashed with soldiers in the streets.

“I don’t want to hurt any Maldivian. I feel my staying on in power will only increase the problems, and it will hurt our citizens,” Nasheed said. “So the best option available to me is to step down.”

Nasheed was expected to hand over power to Vice-President Mohammed Waheed Hassan.

The resignation came after weeks of protests in this Indian Ocean island nation known more for its lavish beach resorts than political turmoil.

It marked a stunning crash for Nasheed, a former human rights campaigner who defeated the nation’s longtime ruler in the country’s first multiparty election.

Nasheed was also an environmental celebrity, travelling the world to persuade government’s to combat the climate change that could send sea levels rising and inundate his archipelago nation.

He fell out of public favour after he ordered the military to arrest Abdulla Mohamed, the chief judge of the criminal court.

The arrest came after the judge ordered the release of a government critic, calling his arrest illegal.

The vice-president, the supreme court, the human rights commission, judicial services commission and the office of the United Nations (UN) high commissioner for human rights have all called for Mohamed to be released.
The government accused the judge of political bias and corruption. It said that the country’s judicial system had failed and called on the UN to help solve the crisis.

After weeks of protests, the crisis came to a head today when hundreds of police started demonstrating in the capital, Male, after officials ordered them to withdraw protection for government and opposition supporters protesting close to each other.

The withdrawal resulted in a clash that injured at least three people. Later, troops fired rubber bullets and clashed with the police.

When Nasheed visited the police and urged them to end the protest, they refused and instead chanted for his resignation.

The Maldives, an archipelago nation of 300 000 citizens, is a fresh democracy, with 30 years of autocratic rule ending when Nasheed was elected in 2008.

Nasheed is a former pro-democracy political prisoner.

Hassan, the vice-president, has previously worked for the UN, including as the head of its children’s fund in Afghanistan.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.