By B. Raman
Male, the capital of the Maldives, was calm on the night of February 7,2012, with no violent incident reported after the resignation of former President Mohammad Nasheed.
Nasheed was released from detention by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) shortly before midnight. A group of police officers searched his house and claimed to have found liquor bottles and narcotic substances in his house. It would appear that attempts are being made to project him as leading an anti-Islam life style. Nasheed’s supporters have alleged that workers of Gayoom’s Progressive Party of the Maldives and the minority Divehi Quamee Party are guiding the Police in searching the residence of Nasheed.
A spokesperson of Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said: “Gayoom controls the judiciary, now the executive, the media, and in a couple of weeks probably the parliament. One thing he cannot control is popular support for President Nasheed, so he needs to find a way to jail or discredit him ahead of the 2013 election.”
In its first official reaction, Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has issued the following statement late in the night: “We strongly condemn the coup d’etat that has been brought against the constitutionally elected government of President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives. Last night rogue elements from the Maldives Police Service in conjunction with the supporters of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom overthrew the democratically elected government of President Nasheed.
“The overthrow occurred after small numbers of police and army personnel, in response to a call from leading opposition figures, Abdulla Yameen (former President Gayoom’s half brother) and Umar Naseer (former security officer in the regime of President Gayoom), joined with a group of protesters in the centre of Male, protesting against the arrest and detention of a judge accused of corruption.
“These police and army personnel, especially those from the notorious Star Force established by former President Gayoom then, ignoring the chain of command, moved around the capital in full riot gear, attacking MDP headquarters and the houses of MDP MPs and government officials.
“Many MDP members and government officials were badly hurt. Some are unaccounted for. MDP-associated property continues to be attacked. In this climate of chaos and fear, the rogue elements of the police and army helped to take over the main national TV channel, MNBC, replacing it with President Gayoom’s old TV Maldives (TVM), and also moved to take control of key installations.
“During this time, ex President Gayoom’s allies moved to retake control of the army and police. The opposition, supported by the army and police, then offered an ultimatum to President Nasheed: step down or be faced with a bloodbath in the capital.
“President Nasheed thus resigned in order to protect the public from further violence. His resignation was involuntary in that he had no choice.
“President Nasheed was taken to the President’s Office under the custody of the security forces and subsequently resigned.
“We also condemn the violent attacks carried out against our members by the Maldives Police Service including Member of Parliament and our former chairperson Mariya Didi and other MPs from the party.
“We call upon the international community to assist us in establishing democracy in the Maldives and protect the officials of the government of President Nasheed. We fear for the safety of President Nasheed and senior members of his government.”