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February 7th, 2012
Maldives President steps down…

Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed resigned today following weeks of public protests over his controversial order to arrest a senior Judge. Brig. Ahmed Shiyam told reporters that Nasheed has agreed to step down and hand over the presidency to his Vice President, Mohammed Waheed Hassan. There was no immediate comment from Nasheed.

Meanwhile, police in the Maldives have taken control of the state broadcaster amid protests, reports say. Soldiers used tear gas to break up a demonstration by supporters of an ex-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Police were said to be among the protesters. Sources of the President House said that the protest took place in a high security zone near army headquarters.

The President’s office had earlier released a statement saying the government has taken all necessary actions to stabilise the situation in Male, the capital of the Indian Ocean island chain. Yesterday, around 50 policemen stood down in favour of the protesters and refused to obey orders. Tensions escalated after the Maldives army arrested a senior judge last month, prompting bitter street protests.