Sri Lanka president urges safety of Nasheed

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked the new Maldivian government to ensure the personal safety of his ousted counterpart Mohamed Nasheed.

Rajapaksa's spokesman Bandula Jayasekera said the Sri Lankan president had telephoned the new Maldivian president Mohamed Waheed Hassan yesterday to urge him to ensure the safety of Nasheed.

This was in the midst of violent protest in Male by Nasheed's MDP supporters.

It was said that Nasheed was roughly handled by the police at the demonstration last night.

Violence later spread to several other atolls in the island nation.

Several MDP members including their members of parliament were injured in the police crackdown on the protest.

Sri Lanka had reacted to Tuesday's ouster of Nasheed by saying it was an internal matter for the Maldives and expressed hope that it would be resolved through the due constitutional process.

Rajapaksa and Nasheed enjoyed a special relationship with the former Maldivian leader speaking on behalf of Sri Lanka in the last UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva.

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