Maldives chief says `coup´ investigated as supreme…

Maldives Hours after president declares emergency police storm Supreme Court and arrest two judges

Security forces outside the Supreme Court in Male after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency. | AFP

In a TV address, Yameen insisted that it was business as usual and urged Maldivians to remain calm.

Nasheed said Yameen has illegally declared martial law. Since then, he has been accused of eroding democracy, cracking down on dissent and jailing opposition leaders.

India, unlike China, wants to see a democratic Maldives upholding constitutional values and views the Yameen government as authoritarian.

"President Yameen should resign immediately".

In 2016, Nasheed sought political asylum in the United Kingdom (UK) after travelling there on medical leave from prison.

"A state of emergency can not be used to carry out what appears to be purge of the Supreme Court and the opposition", said Amnesty International South Asian Director Biraj Patnaik.

The government had announced the 15-day state of emergency after a deadlock on the Supreme Court's landmark ruling late Thursday. The ruling would have given the opposition a majority in the country's legislative assembly.

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Government sources had said rescue teams reached the area and shifted the injured to a hospital in Saidu Sharif. Security forces have cordoned off the area and are searching for possible accomplices of the bomber.

The arrests in the supreme court building came after an opposition lawmaker said that soldiers had stormed the building. "The best way forward is for India to establish a forum with the United Kingdom and the USA and put pressure on Yameen to follow the Supreme Court ruling in letter and spirit and move towards elections", Mahendra Lama, an expert in south Asian studies, told DW.

The government of the Indian Ocean archipelago has imposed a state of emergency and arrested two senior judges and a former president.

Mr Nasheed, who is now in Colombo in Sri Lanka, also urged the U.S. to block financial transactions of Mr Yameen's government.

Yameen called the move a "coup" and declared the state of emergency to invalidate the judge's immunity and arrest him and former president and opposition leader, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, on bribery and conspiration charges.

"The constitution clearly states how a president can be impeached".

Nasheed today called for the USA and India to intervene and release the prisoners, and to impose sanctions to curb Yameen's financial transactions, the BBC reports. Of India much more is demanded - outright military intervention!

India - which rarely intervenes in foreign countries - helped put down an attempted coup in the Maldives in the 1980s.

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The government has declared a state of emergency and the chief justice of the Supreme Court has been detained with no further details given about his detention or charges.

The army appears to be supporting Yameen. "The government continues to carefully monitor the situation", it stated.

Is it safe for tourists?

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The political crisis comes during the country's peak tourism season, when tens of thousands of foreigners visit the Maldives' beaches.

If India climbs this roller coaster with Maldives, it will only be a matter of time before one group of conspirators or the other throws us down, and we will have nothing but bruises or worse to show for it.

For their part, India and the USA said they were "concerned" and troubled by the emergency decree, while the United Nations, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Germany urged Yameen to lift it and restore civil liberties.

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