Male: Thousands of supporters of ousted Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed rallied in protest in the capital on Saturday night as the new President Mohamed Waheed Hassan was busy approaching parties to form a coalition government.

Supporters of Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and his members of parliament staged a public demonstration on a beach front park, demanding the newly appointed president to step down and hold an early election, as reported. "We don't accept Waheed as our president. This is a coup government. He is not a people elected president like Nasheed," said one of the protesters. The protesters said they would continue to protest if Waheed did not resign and announce an early election.

Nasheed, who alleges to have been overthrown by a coup orchestrated by the military and backed by the opposition, has warned of street fights in the island nation in case he was arrested. He has also demanded snap polls.

A number of foreign countries including the US, however, have accepted Waheed's appointment and asked Nasheed to join his proposed coalition government. A sense of uncertainty has gripped the Maldives since Nasheed resigned Feb 7.

0Meanwhile, US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake has encouraged the coalition of "former opposition" political parties affiliated with the new government to "work with all parties to reform".

He has encouraged them "to improve the capacity of the judiciary, the police and the election commission to ensure the election can be held in an orderly and peaceful manner", as reported. 

Meeting the press in the National Art Gallery, Blake said that "a number of good ideas" were being explored to "try and bring former President Mohamed Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) into the national unity government.

"Nasheed's supporters have criticised the legitimacy of Waheed's government and have refused to participate in his proposed 'national unity' government.

(Agencies)