In the wake of Tuesday's resignation of Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of Maldives, opposition leaders wanted the military to detain him on corruption charges.
"His rule was tainted with nepotism and corruption, often breaching the constitution," Hassan Saeed, who leads the Dhivehi Qaumee Party, told Agence France-Presse.
The military fended off those calls. "He is not in detention. He is in his residence," Col. Abdul Raheem Abdul Latheef told Haveeru Online, a Maldivian news outlet.
The vice president who replaced Nasheed, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, also promised to protect the former president from retribution, urging his countrymen in a televised address to avoid chaos.
The chain of islands south of India has been a democracy since 2008.
Nasheed had faced down weeks of protests after he ordered the army to arrest a chief justice, alleging that his rulings were politically tainted. The former human rights activist, a sometimes colorful crusader against climate change, was criticized for cracking down on opposition protests while government supporters could gather freely.
"It looks that President Nasheed has over-reached himself in firstly arresting and in refusing to release the judge when the overwhelming public opinion is against taking such a drastic action," S. Chandrasekharan wrote in an analytical article for Eurasia Review.
Opposition protesters also took over the Maldives National Broadcasting Commission and rebranded it as "TVM," its name under autocratic leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the Maldivian news outlet Minivan News reported. The opposition began broadcasting interviews and patriotic songs. In the video above, provided by Reuters, protesting police are seen on state television before the president steps down.
-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles
Video: As seen on Maldivian state television, police gather in the streets before President Mohamed Nasheed resigns from the leadership. Credit: Reuters