Thousands marched in Malé – the capital city of Maldives – on Friday, demanding the resignation of President Yameen Abdul Gayoom and the release of imprisoned former president Mohamed Nasheed. Police used tear gas on the demonstrators, later alleging that the protests were not peaceful and accusing Opposition leader Imran of "inciting violence."
Former President Nasheed was sentenced in March to 13 years in prison under the country’s terrorism laws for ordering the arrest of a senior judge during his presidency. His rushed sentencing led to widespread international condemnation, with the United Nations human rights office describing his trial as "vastly unfair" and his conviction as "arbitrary." Opposition groups also accuse President Gayoom of jailing the former President, along with others, because he sees them as a political threat.
Nasheed was elected in 2008, ending the autocratic, 30-year rule of Maymoon Abdul Gayoom, the current President’s half-brother.