Update 11/2/12: Evidence emerges that the coup to overthrow democratically elected President Nasheed was planned in January. The trigger was the government’s arrest of the Chief Judge of the Criminal Court, Abdullah Mohamed, on charges of corruption, which the opposition claimed was unlawful. Mohamed has now been freed. Meanwhile, here is a dossier that puts his arrest in context, highlighting the corruption of the judiciary. Of particular note is the racist and anti-Semitic ‘phamplet of hate’ published by the Dhivehi Quamee Party on 23 December 2011.
Update 8/2/12: The latest reports from Male here and (below) a video of deposed President Nasheed being taken away by armed police. His brother says Nasheed is injured but in a safe house now. Police were “aiming batons at the head” and attacking people in hospital.
Update 7/2/12: I’ve just been sent this video of supporters of deposed President Nasheed protesting against the military coup on the streets of Male.
Shocking news today that ‘Ani’ Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the Maldives has resigned during what he describes as “a military coup” led by the former dictator Abdul Gayoom – here’s a statement.
Nasheed, who deeply impressed me with his intelligent, humane and courageous outlook when I met him in Male, has been forced to step down after weeks of what appear to be orchestrated protests engineered by the country’s former dictator, Abdul Gayoom. Nasheed’s attempts to lead the country and, in particular, to rule out the corruption that stem’s from the previous administration’s 30-years in power, was continually opposed by Gayoom’s band of paid ‘special officers’, who attacked Nasheed’s party headquarters and the media, as the Guardian reports:
There were also reports that a group of officers had taken over the state-run television channel’s studios and had forced staff to broadcast messages of support for Gayoom.
Nasheed has been at the forefront of state-led democratic and environmental efforts, including banning shark hunting, setting up marine reserves and leading an international fight for climate change mitigation as part of a bloc of small island nations. The Maldives, which is just a metre above sea level, is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise through thermal expansion of the oceans and melting glaciers driven by global warming.
It’s dangerous on the streets of Male at the moment with people being attacked, our thoughts are with our friends there.