Maldives police use tear gas against opposition protestersMale: Maldives police used tear gas today against opposition protesters who also clashed with police during a demonstration demanding the resignation of President Yameen Abdul Gayoom and the release of a jailed ex-president.The thousands of
Male: Maldives police used tear gas today against opposition protesters who also clashed with police during a demonstration demanding the resignation of President Yameen Abdul Gayoom and the release of a jailed ex-president.
The thousands of protesters marching in one of the biggest marches in the capital of this island Indian Ocean nation accused Gayoom of jailing former President Mohamed Nasheed and others who he sees as political threats.
The opposition activists ran through a cordon of shield-carrying police protecting the military headquarters in Male and clashed with the police.
Police fired tear gas and arrested many of the protesters.
They later declared the demonstration was not peaceful, saying they will breakup any gathering without warning.
However, Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party said the police charged the protesters without provocation.
The protesters also beat up two policemen who were taken to hospital with severe injuries.
Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in prison in March for ordering the arrest of a senior judge when he was president three years ago. He was sentenced under the country's terrorism laws after the court declared that the arrest was akin to kidnapping.
Nasheed's imprisonment after a rushed trial sparked widespread international condemnation.
In a statement after a fact finding mission to the Maldives, the United Nations human rights office said Nasheed's trial was "vastly unfair and his conviction was arbitrary and disproportionate."
It also said the country's legal system is incomplete. "In the absence of an adequate criminal code, evidence law, and criminal procedures, the prosecutor general and the judges have excessive discretionary powers that worked in this case against Mr. Nasheed," the statement said.
Gayoom's former defense minister Mohamed Nazim has been jailed for 10 years for importing and possessing a firearm, which is forbidden for private individuals.
Famed for its luxury island resorts, Maldives became a multiparty democracy in 2008 when Nasheed was elected president, ending the autocratic, 30-year rule of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Nasheed resigned in 2012 after weeks of public protests against the arrest of the judge, whom Nasheed's government had accused of being corrupt and politically biased.