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Maldives: President Resigns After Mutiny

Mohamed Nasheed, the president of Maldives most famously known as a climate champion, announced his resignation on Tuesday 7 February, 2012, after the military forces joined the police mutiny against his rule.

Nasheed, sworn in to office in November 2008 after the country's first democratic multiparty election, was inside the military headquarters when the military started withdrawing their allegiance to him. He was taken in a car to the nearby President's Office where he announced his resignation on live television in front of journalists.

Some Maldivians were worried about the safety of the president. Maeed wrote:

One Sincere Request remain, DO NOT HURT A PRESIDENT OF MALDIVES. UPHOLD DIGNITY and DON'T LET HISTORY REPEAT. PROTECT HIM.

People gather in front of Bandaara Koshi, the headquarters of Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) where president Nasheed was taken. Image by MUHA. Used with permission.

He added in a following post:

We shifted from a Dictatorship to a democracy in 2008 and we showed an example to the world then. I call the Security forces to show that example again.

Earlier in the day, tension escalated as the police rioted against what they claimed were unlawful commands. After what appeared to be a bitter stand-off between the military and the police, the military retreated into their headquarters. The police protest was preceded by three weeks of evening protests organised by the opposition parties in the capital Male', after the government ordered the military to detain a top judge.

Mohamed Waheed Hassan, the vice president in Nasheed's administration, has been sworn in as the new president. Even though Hassan urged for calm during a speech after taking oath, it remains to be seen if the country can quickly restore stability after weeks of protests, destruction of property and attacks on journalists and media outlets.

Soldiers who mutinied shake hands with public. Image by MUHA. Used with permission

The continuity of the democratic exercise of the Maldives is in question as tension remains high. The supporters of the deposed president label the change in power as a coup while his opponents claim Tuesday's events showed the will of the people.

Opinion is divided and feelings are mixed on social networks and twitter as Maldivians try to come to terms with the fact that the government has changed approximately two years before the next scheduled election. The hashtag #Maldives trended on Twitter today.

Dhaanish tweets:

@Dhaaanish: @JeelAli @yaittey People will start realizing how sane Nasheed is compared to all these opposition retards later! Mark my words!””

Hum_Don tweets:

@Hum_Don: I feel sorry and sad to see the resignation of the very president we worked so hard to elect.

Epicloser expressed his views:

@epicloser: You didn't listen to #Dec23 protest Nasheed, you just made fun out of us and called us terrorists. This is the outcome for you. Peace.

Haumaldives has this to say about the mutiny:

@haumaldives: @CNN Maldives Nasheed carried arbitary arrests using the Military which led to protests.. and Military crackdown led to Police revolt.

People waving Maldives flags after the tension is over. Image by MUHA. Used with permission.

Limmto tweets:

@Limmto: Citizens beat #Nasheed at his own game. The #muzaaharaa. #Maldives #MVrevolution

profEuLOGist tweets about the rebranding of the state-owned TV station after police took over:

@profEuLOGist: Fastest transition of a media and rebranding I have ever seen! TVM to MNBC1 took months but back 2 TVM – 10mins!

Mashafeeg has this to say about the turn of events:

@mashafeeg: New era of democracy in Maldives, people proves their power and president shown his bravery by the resignation.

Maldives11 responded to Mashafeeg's tweet:

@Maldives11: @mashafeeg I doubt it was the people. sorry I am not convinced it was the people.

Mashafeeg also ponders about the future:

@mashafeeg: At last Dr.Waheed’s longed dream has come true, wonder how people will accept his presidency! better wait and see for a while! #Maldives

Hilmy7007, has high expectations of the new government:

@Hilmy7007: President Waheed should ensure his government is corruption free. We demand transparency n accountability in all projects awarded.

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