President of Maldives Steps Down After Police Coup

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Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed resigned today after a "mutiny" by police officers who took over the state broadcaster in the nation's capital. About 500 opposition supporters rallied outside the army headquarters before some police officers joined them in taking over the broadcast operations. During a nationally televised address, Nasheed announced he was stepping down by saying, "It will be better for the country in the current situation if I resign. I don't want to run the country with an iron fist." Nasheed took office in 2008 after defeating long-time ruler Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in the country's first multiparty election ever, but had faced protests from Gayoom's supporters, particularly after the arrest of a judge considered to be an opponent of the government.

Maldives is a collection of 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean, many of which are just barely above sea level. Nasheed had pushed for environmental reforms and even sought the possibility an new home for Maldives residents, amid concern that climate change and rising oceans could wipe out the entire nation. Vice President Mohammed Waheed Hassan is expected to take over presidential duties.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.