Political Unrest in the Maldives: President Ousted, Supporters Beaten


If you follow climate change news, then you’re likely familiar with Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically elected leader of the small island nation. President of the lowest country in the world, with 80% of its land rising only a meter above sea level, President Nasheed has been a global voice for action to address the climate crisis. In 2009, he and Maldives government officials held an underwater cabinet meeting to make a statement about what will happen to the island by the year 2100 if the world does not act on climate change.

In September the Maldives pledged to go carbon neutral by 2020, which would make it the first nation to do so. On January 23, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke announced that the band’s music “was used to help tell the story” of President Nasheed in new documentary The Island President.

This week’s news on the Maldives hasn’t been quite as positive. A military coup in what seems to have been carried out by police forced President Nasheed from office on Tuesday morning, at gunpoint and with threats of violence. He was placed under house arrest, and Bill McKibben’s organization 350.org put out an alert stating that his life could be in danger. That same day, President Nasheed’s successor, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, the former vice president, was sworn in as the President of the Maldives.

The following day, police used tear gas and wooden batons on President Nasheed’s supporters who had gathered outside of the government buildings in the nation’s capital of Male. Several of the President’s aides and associates have been hospitalized after beatings. One official for the new government has promised that President Nasheed will spend the rest of his life in prison. The situation changes frequently, but on February 9, the New York Times reported that an arrest warrant has been filed for President Nasheed, and he is inside his residence. “We are waiting for the police to come arrest President Nasheed right now,” said the former foreign minister, Ahmed Naseem, speaking in a telephone interview in the early afternoon. “We have absolutely no idea of what the charges are,” he added.

350.org has been communicating with the US State Department and other diplomats in the United Kingdom, European Union, and India. The organization shared this note from Ayesha, a friend of 350.org, from the Maldives: “By helping us bring peace and justice to this nation, you will help strengthen our resilience to climate change which is crucial for our very existence.” I recommend following 350.org to stay current on developments in the Maldives.


Related Stories:

How Can This Island Nation Go 100% Carbon Neutral by 2020?

Coastal Countries Step Up for Sharks

Drought-Ravaged Pacific Islands Desperate for Foreign Water


Photo of the Maldives courtesy of ThinkStock.com.


Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Tommy S.
Tommy S6 years ago

@ Rob and J

JAHILIYA, AL-The age of ignorance before islam came along and perfected it

Rob and Jay B.
Jay S6 years ago

Chad, are you doing any research on this coup at all? It is most definitely an Islamist coup & has been in the works for at least a couple of months. This president just overthrown, the first ever democratically elected one, was under great pressure & criticism for not enforcing Sharia Law in a country where all religious worship is illegal, except for Islam, women are whipped for adultery & all of us dirty 'infidels' have been kept away from the bulk of the people so we don't pollute their Islamic morals.

These same Islamists who mounted the coup also broke into the Chinese built museum & smashed all the pre-Islamic statues & artifacts from the Maldives more tolerant Buddhist past, just as the Taliban did in Afghanistan: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gpQRnwpootZot3dABRpS168QzLbg?docId=CNG.b7b84d73ae0e2b3179e9deb594bd393e.481

Here are some of the many articles about this coup:



Sandi C.
Sandi C6 years ago


Chad A.
Chad A6 years ago

The people who are calling this an "Islamist" coup are off the mark. The purpose of the coup seems to be to protect supporters of the former dictatorship and to try to restore the undemocratic order to power. That this is done in a predominantly Islamic nation that is officially an Islamic state does not mean that the coup was Islamist. The coup was about bringing back a corrupt old order while fighting against the continuing expansion of democracy.

Grace Adams
Grace Adams6 years ago

Short term--would it be more cost-effective to move the Maldives onto large rafts/houseboats with water from desalinating ocean water and some semblance of agriculture in large planter boxes or hydroponic grow units or to move the Maldivians to some other location maybe in Australia?

federico bortoletto
federico b6 years ago

Grazie per la notizia

J.L. A.
JL A6 years ago

Each injustice diminishes us all.

Dijana D.
Dijana D6 years ago

oh great...nothing good can last in this world...sigh. The Maldives need international support right now.

Glenda L.
Glenda L6 years ago

What a shame.