Sat, Sep 01, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Supporters of ousted leader rally in Maldives

Reuters, MALE

Maldivian police arrested at least 12 people early yesterday morning to break up a protest by supporters of former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed against a report that said he had been replaced legitimately.

Hundreds of angry supporters of Nasheed had blocked a main road in the capital, Male, for three hours before the arrests forced them to disperse. On Thursday, around 50 protesters had been detained.

After his removal on Feb. 7, Nasheed, in power since 2008, said he had been forced to resign at gunpoint by mutinying police and soldiers.

Speaking late on Wednesday to thousands of followers in Male, he called on the public, the army and the police to rise up against his successor, Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed, and demanded that next year’s presidential election be brought forward.

However, the commission that was set up to look into the circumstances that led to the crisis said on Thursday that the transfer of power had followed the Maldivian Constitution.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said the investigation had been objective and credible, while the US commended the commission and called its investigation “thorough and inclusive.”

Ahamed Adhuhan, a 21-year-old protester, told reporters: “We are the people who were here and not the international community. We saw it with our own eyes.”

“They only hear what other people say and surely they were not here to see what happened on that day,” Adhuhan added.

Nasheed’s resignation sparked rowdy protests by his supporters, some of whom complained of heavy-handed policing. The report said police brutality should be further investigated.

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