Maldives: Mutinous Police Take Over State TV

Posted February 7th, 2012 at 2:50 am (UTC-5)
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Residents in the Maldives say mutinous police have taken over state television facilities and are broadcasting opposition calls for President Mohamed Nasheed to step down.

An ongoing constitutional crisis escalated Tuesday when about three dozen police officers joined an opposition rally and attacked another nearby demonstration led by members of the ruling party. Security forces used tear gas to disrupt the clashes, but there were no confirmed reports of injuries.

The office of President Nasheed says he is safe inside military headquarters. He is expected to address the nation shortly.

Mr. Nasheed's government has faced three weeks of mounting protests after he ordered the controversial arrest of a senior judge on charges of misconduct and favoring opposition figures.

Mr. Nasheed became the Maldives' first democratically elected president in 2008, replacing Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who held office for 30 years under a one-party system.

The Republic of Maldives is a Muslim-majority nation made up of about 1,200 islands scattered in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Sri Lanka.