Nasheed supporters clash with police in Maldives

 Several thousand supporters of former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed clashed with police and troops in riot gear today, a day after his resignation which he blamed on a coup d'etat.

Nasheed had been among the crowd that rallied in the centre of the capital Male in a square next to police and military headquarters before they were driven out.

In a statement, Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said the former president had been beaten up by police during the rally, and that several other party MPs had been injured and arrested.

There was no independent confirmation that Nasheed had been beaten, and his precise whereabouts were unclear.

"We strongly condemn the violent attack," the MDP statement said, calling on the international community to "assist us" in securing the release of those detained.
Chanting slogans in support of Nasheed, the protesters had thrown stones and security personnel responded with tear gas and pepper spray, finally forcing the crowd back and away from the square.

"We're not going to stop," said Mohamed Abdulla, an MDP supporter. "We'll just regroup and protest elsewhere."

"These people have seized our power!" another protester shouted.Nasheed had led the crowd into the square following a meeting of the MDP leadership, which passed a resolution calling the new administration of President Mohamed Waheed illegitimate.

In an exclusive interview with AFP, Nasheed insisted that he had been forced into resigning by a group of armed rebel police and army officers who had threatened a bloodbath if he refused.

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