Maldives sanctions arrest of ex-president

A MALDIVES court has issued an arrest warrant for former president Mohamed Nasheed, after his supporters rampaged in the capital and his claim of being removed by a coup left unclear the stability of the fledging Indian Ocean democracy.

Police spokesman Abdul Mannan Yusuf yesterday refused to disclose the grounds for the criminal court’s warrant, or say when Mr Nasheed – who is living at his Male home, surrounded by supporters – would be arrested.

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Mr Nasheed had announced he was voluntarily resigning on Tuesday after months of protests against his rule and fading support from the police and the army. But the next day, as former vice president Mohammed Waheed Hassan was forming a new government, Mr Nasheed announced he had been pushed from power at gunpoint.

Thousands of his supporters swept into the streets. They clashed with security forces in Male, the capital, and attacked police stations across the 1,200-island archipelago. The government said there was no coup.