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Maldives president quits after protests

Tuesday February 07, 2012 03:24:25 PM, IANS

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Colombo: Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, elected only four years ago, resigned Tuesday following overnight protests, authorities and media reports said.

The Maldives High Commission here said Vice President Mohammad Waheed was now the acting president.

The dramatic development followed overnight protests, sparked by the arrest on Nasheed's order of a judge over allegations of corruption.

The opposition Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) told Sri Lanka's Sunday Leader online edition that a majority of police and army were backing the president's removal.

DQP spokesperson Mohamad Malech Jamal said there were now celebrations in Male following Nasheed's exit.

He said the Male airport and the state broadcaster were under the control of the police and army.

Maldivian journalists told Indian TV channels over telephone from Male that there had been no coup and that the president had submitted his resignation.

He was apparently brought to his office in a car from army barracks.

Violence broke out Monday night as the army and police were deployed to break up protesters, opposition figures said.

"About 800 police officers gathered at the Republic Square. Several of them called for the president's resignation," Jamal was quoted as saying.

The Maldivian government appealed for calm.

"The government of Maldives together with all state institutions will work to ensure peace and stability in Male," a statement on the Maldivian president's website said.

"Government calls to people to remain calm and support to stabilize the situation," it added.

Nasheed took power in 2008, ending three decades of rule by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. A leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party, he visited India in 2009.

A tourist haven, the Maldives is made up of several atolls and has a total land area of 298 sq km.

It has a population of about 400,000, most of them Sunni Muslims. The main language is Dhivehi, a Sinhalese dialect.







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Picture of the Day

New Delhi,27 Jan 2012-IGNOU Vice-Chancellor M Aslam receiving the "Best teaching practices Award" from noted film director Prakash Jha at the India Today Aspire education summit 2012,in New Delhi on Friday. Also in picture India Today Group's Rekha Puri.

(Photo: IANS/Amlan Paliwal)



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