Maldives witnesses protests, clashes after the arrest of Mohamed Nasheed

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In what may send the country of Maldives in yet another phase of political uncertainty, supporters of former president Mohamed Nasheed clashed with the police after he was arrested on terrorism charges on Sunday.

Maldives’ Police arrested Nasheed, leader of opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) yesterday after the court issued an arrest warrant against him under new charges of terrorism regarding the arrest of a top judge three years ago.

According to reports, Nasheed was arrested because the court suspected that he might not appear for the trial and might flee the country and go into hiding.

Nasheed as President in 2012 had ordered the arrest of Abdulla Mohamed, chief judge of the Criminal Court, after he released an opposition politician detained by the then government.

The current government under Abdul Yameen Gayoom accuses Mr Nasheed of using the military to arrest the top judge when it had no authority to do so. Nasheed is also accused of having detained the judge for weeks without trial or legal counsel and ignoring a Supreme Court order to release him, a government official said reportedly.

Besides Nasheed, MDP’s chairperson too was arrested.

Nasheed’s arrest has meanwhile led to protests by the supporters of Nasheed and many of them thronged outside his house and at many places across the capital to demonstrate against the arrest.

Comparing Nasheed as their “Mandela”, former NDP chairperson Maria Didi called for his release.

While Nasheed was being taken to a detention centre, he urged his supporters to fight against “harassm.

To tackle the crowd of supporters who protested as Nasheed was being taken away, the police also used pepper spray.

Nasheed’s arrest comes a week after he had requested India’s help in case President Abdulla Yameen imposed emergency rule.

Nasheed’s arrest also follows weeks of protest against the Government by the opposition alliance (MDP and Jumhooree Party). The opposition parties have alleged that the government has violated the Constitution a number of times.