Male calm a day after Nasheed quits


Male : The Republic Square in Male looked calm and quiet Wednesday morning with families walking around and chattering at the very location where weeks of protests to oust Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically elected president in the archipelago, took place.

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The protests erupted with Nasheed’s order to arrest a top judge. Nasheed announced his resignation Tuesday and on the same day, Vice President Mohammad Waheed Hassan, a former top Unicef official, took oath as the president.

The island nation, a paradise holiday destination renowned for its pristine white sand beaches, turquoise waters and high-end luxury, experienced a spate of protests which culminated with a clash between troops and police who joined the protesters against the president.

Nasheed who was earlier hailed as a human rights campaigner defeated the nation’s long-time ruler in the country’s first multi-party election. Nasheed began his term with great hopes, ending Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s 30-year-reign by winning the country’s first democratic elections in 2008.

“Nasheed became a victim of his own democratic moves introduced to the country after 30 years of dictatorial regime by his predecessor,” Xinhua quoted an unnamed political analyst as saying.

“He (Nasheed) was an elected dictator. We elected him but he wanted to rule with an iron fist,” a young law student told the news agency at the Republic Square.

“A change is always good,” he added, welcoming the new President Waheed Hassan.

He said: “Waheed has worked in UN and had a lot of diplomatic connections and more than anything, with all seven political parties supporting him, it is going to be a better country.”

An elderly Maldivian who was at the Republic Square with his family Tuesday night said that the island nation experienced nothing compared to protests in Syria and Egypt.

This is a peaceful country where one man ruled for 30 years and the next only for three years, he said.

“There was no coup…but a demonstration which led the president to resign and made way for another,” he said.

“President Nasheed did not break the constitution but was trying to bend it for his sake but he was beaten by the same constitution,” he added.