July 23 (NIA) – Thousands of opposition supporters gathered in the Maldivian capital Male in the early hours of Saturday, protesting against President Abdulla Yameen’s government and calling for the President’s immediate resignation.
Protestors, who were supporters of the Maldives United Opposition which is backed by former President Mohamed Nasheed, chanted slogans for the police and military to change the government and usher in an interim government.
Riot police were deployed across the capital since Friday night and protestors were urged to quietly make their way home without continuing the protest.
Some of the protestors later made their way outside the Prosecutor General’s office demanding for Yameen’s resignation.
Maldives has been in a state of political turmoil after former President Nasheed was ejected from office in 2012, in what the opposition figures describe as the island’s first coup.
He became the Maldives’ first democratically elected leader in 2008, ending three decades of dictatorial rule. As president, he won international attention for campaigning on the threat his low-lying nation faced from climate change, notably by holding an underwater cabinet meeting in 2009.
Having lost power in 2012, Nasheed continued as opposition leader, winning the first round of presidential elections in 2013. He ultimately lost that contest to Yameen, however, following the intervention of the country’s supreme court.
Nasheed was in March last year sentenced to 13 years in prison by a Maldives Criminal Court on charges of terrorism.
He however left for Britain in January to undergo an urgent back surgery after the Maldives government said the former president had signed an undertaking to return after his treatment and had left his brother to act as a guarantor.
In May, his lawyers however said he would not be returning to Maldives any times soon as Britain had granted him a political refugee status.