The Maldives government accused Sheik Imran, leader of Islamic conservative Adhaalath or Justice Party of inciting violence among the protesters with the aim of overthrowing the government.
    
Imran had been a key organiser of the protest by three opposition parties and his arrest could exacerbate an acrimonious political climate in the Indian Ocean archipelago state.
    
Thousands marched in the capital accusing 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 193 protesters. They later declared the demonstration was not peaceful, saying they will breakup any gathering without warning.
    
Maldives police told reporters that Imran "incited violence amongst protesters with the aim of toppling the government and called for clashes with the police if necessary."
    
However, Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party said the police charged the protesters without provocation.The protesters also beat up two policemen who were flown to neighbouring Sri Lanka for treatment.
    
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.

 

 

Latest News from World News Desk