‘No coup’ but Maldives opposition wants security forces to aid overthrow

Some police officers taking a break during a opposition protest held in the capital Male late last month. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN

Some police officers taking a break during a opposition protest held in the capital Male late last month. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN

Exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed says the opposition movement to oust president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom from office needs the “cooperation” of the security forces but insisted that he does not want them to stage a coup in the archipelago.

Nasheed who became the first democratically elected president of the Maldives in 2008, but now lives in exile in London after he was jailed on terrorism charges that he says were politically motivated told reporters in Colombo via video link from London that the now united opposition is looking to topple the present government through legal and constitutional means.

“A military coup is not legal,” Nasheed who himself was forced to step down following a mutiny by police and security forces after weeks of anti-government protests in the capital island Male emphasized.

Specifying the expected role of the Security Forces in this movement, Nasheed said that they could allow anti-Yameen demonstrations to take place without undue curbs.

Opposition has continuously accused the government of using the police to crackdown on dissenters.

A ban on street protests in the capital Male has been in force since a police crackdown on a three-day protest staged by Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) last November.

The police have since blocked the opposition’s anti-corruption walks as well as marches by the media and civil society.

In this photograph taken on September 13, 2016, exiled Maldives opposition leader, Mohamed Nasheed addresses Sri Lanka-based foreign correspondents via video link, in Colombo.  Exiled Maldives opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed has said he is in talks with the former president who repeatedly threw him in jail to "legally topple" the current leader of the troubled honeymoon island nation. / AFP PHOTO / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI

In this photograph taken on September 13, 2016, exiled Maldives opposition leader, Mohamed Nasheed addresses Sri Lanka-based foreign correspondents via video link, in Colombo.
Exiled Maldives opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed has said he is in talks with the former president who repeatedly threw him in jail to “legally topple” the current leader of the troubled honeymoon island nation. / AFP PHOTO / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI

The government using its overwhelming control in parliament last month pushed through a legislation restricting protests in the capital Male.

Despite the measures, Nasheed remained confident that the security forces can help because he believes a section of them are alienated from the corrupt and arbitrary rule of Yameen.

Nasheed also said he has joined hands with arch nemesis Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to topple Yameen.

In the past he has accused Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the Maldives for 30 years and is still regarded as the power behind the throne, of being behind his downfall.

But on Tuesday he indicated he wanted to bury the hatchet with Gayoom, after a public rift between the former strongman and his half-brother, incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom leaving the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) split in half.

“How can you build a future if you always want to go back to live in the past,” Nasheed told reporters in Colombo via a video link from London.

Nasheed said he had forgiven Gayoom and was in talks with his faction of PPM “for a new political alignment”.

 

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