A day after Maldives president Mohammed Nasheed was forced to resign his office, reportedly at gunpoint, an arrest warrant has been issued for the deposed leader. Fresh protests are expected to follow.
“The home minister has pledged [I will be] the first former president to spend all my life in jail,” Nasheed told reporters Thursday, the Guardian reports. The Home Ministry deals with internal affairs.
On Wednesday, scores of people were injured as the military battled the police. While the police initiated the revolt against the government, the military remain loyal to Nasheed. Largely peaceful protests by Nasheed’s supporters, calling themselves the Maldives Democracy Movement, have also been broken up by police with tear gas or batons.
The ouster of Nasheed came after weeks of protests over a presidential order he had given to the military, the Associated Press reports. The order was to arrest a judge who had been accused of blocking multimillion-dollar corruption cases against members of former Maldives leader Mamoon Abdul Gayoom.
Gayoom, who was defeated by Nasheed in the 2008 Maldives first-ever democratic election, is accused of engineering Tuesday’s coup.
After the country’s vice president, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, was sworn in as president, Gayoom sent him a letter of congratulations.
Video from Raajje Television, a user-submitted video Web site, purportedly shows the initial arrest of the president by his own police force.
Another video on the site shows police carting a semiconscious man from the area.
On Thursday, the nation remained deeply divided over whether Nasheed should have been ousted.
The president’s supporters, cheering him on in Male:
His opposition, celebrating their victory in Male:
In addition to presiding over the country in its first attempt at democracy, Nasheed was known for his work in seeking to stave off climate change, a major threat to the Maldives with its eroding coast and low-lying land. The Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean south of India.
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