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31 Nasheed supporters arrested during rally over his detention

31 Nasheed supporters arrested during rally over his detention At least 31 supporters of Mohammed Nasheed have been arrested during a mass rally that saw thousands throng the Maldivian capital to protest the detention of the former president on terror charges.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party-Jumhooree Party (MDP-JP) alliance had organised the rally yesterday and more than 10,000 people participated in the demonstration.

The opposition supporters marched through Male calling on President Abdulla Yameen to resign and free “political prisoners.”

Protesters carried national flags and placards calling for former President Nasheed, former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim and MDP MP Ali Azim’s release.

When MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed Ali announced the end of the rally in the evening, opposition supporters converged at the Male City Council Hall and the Alikilegefaanu and Majeedjee Magu junction near President Yameen’s house.

At least 31 people were arrested tonight, police said.

Police also pushed protesters after midnight at Alikilegefaanu Magu junction back towards Male City Council Hall. Only a few hundred protesters had remained on the streets by then.

Nasheed, 47, and Nazim are currently in police custody until a verdict is delivered in two separate trials on terrorism charges. Azim was arrested during a protest last week with police alleging he tested positive for drugs.

Nasheed, the country’s first democratically elected leader, was arrested on Sunday on terror charges of ordering the arrest of a senior judge in 2012 that triggered violence in the Indian Ocean island.

A day after he was arrested, Nasheed was virtually dragged by the security forces to be presented before the Criminal Court, which ruled that the opposition leader will remain in custody until the case against him was complete.

India voiced concern over the “arrest and manhandling” of the former president and asked all those involved to calm the situation.

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) have threatened legal action against protesters “creating turmoil in Male and participating in disrupting the peace would infringe on the rights of people who reside in Male.”

Nasheed took refuge at the Indian High Commission in Male to avoid being arrested in connection with the same case in February 2013. He became the country’s first democratically elected leader in 2008.

– PTI