Maldives President Resigns Following Police Mutiny, Protests

Posted February 7th, 2012 at 4:10 am (UTC-5)
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Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed has resigned following weeks of opposition protests over his controversial decision to arrest a senior judge.

Mr. Nasheed's resignation Tuesday came after mutinous police took over state television headquarters in the capital, Male, and broadcasted calls for him to step down. Earlier, a group of police had joined an opposition protest and attacked a nearby demonstration led by members of the ruling party, prompting soldiers to use tear gas.

Mr. Nasheed said his resignation was in the best interest of the country, and that he had no desire to use force to maintain his rule. He is expected to hand power over to Vice President Mohammed Waheed Hassan.

The government had faced three weeks of mounting protests after Mr. Nasheed ordered the arrest of a senior judge on charges of misconduct and favoring opposition figures.

The vice president, the Supreme Court and the United Nations Human Rights Commission have all called for the judge to be released. A U.N. delegation had been set to arrive in the country on Thursday to broker a solution to the crisis.

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. It is famous for its beach resorts and hotels that cater to honeymooning couples and high-end travellers.