Ousted at gunpoint, ex-president of Maldives takes to streets


C. Bryson Hull
Reuters

February 8, 2012

(Reuters) – The ousted president of the Maldives, credited with bringing democracy to the Indian Ocean islands, said on Wednesday he had been forced out of power at gunpoint, prompting clashes between police and angry supporters.

Mohamed Nasheed, who in 2008 became the first democratically elected president of the 1,200-island archipelago best known for luxury tourism, resigned on Tuesday after three weeks of opposition protests culminated in a police revolt.

Just a day after he stepped down, it was as if Nasheed had stepped back in time: riot police and soldiers launched tear gas grenades and beat him and other supporters, a scene played out scores of times under the 30-year rule of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, whom he succeeded.

Witnesses said around 40 or 50 people including Nasheed had been injured, some severely. Police and soldiers surrounded the main hospital and kept journalists out of Republic Square, the site of the protest on Male’s northern seafront.

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