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ACTION: Sign Our Petition to Keep President Nasheed Safe
By Bill McKibben
Our fight is a global fight, and early in the morning on Feb. 7 one of our greatest allies, Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, was ousted in a military coup. He’s under house arrest at the moment and could be in serious danger. We're collecting signatures on a petition that we will deliver to key secretaries of state and foreign ministers to make sure there's pressure on the coup leaders to keep President Nasheed safe.
The overthrow occured after small numbers of police and army personal, in response to a call from leading opposition figures, Abdulla Yameen (former President Gayoom’s half brother) and Umar Naseer (former security officer in the regime of President Gayoom), joined with a group of protesters in the centre of Male, protesting against the arrest and detention of a judge accused of corruption.
These police and army personel, especially those from the notorious Star Force established by former President Gayoom then, ignoring the chain of command, moved around the capital in full riot gear, attacking MDP headquarters and the houses of MDP MPs and government officials. Many MDP members and government officials were badly hurt. Some are unaccounted for. MDP-associated property continues to be attacked.
In this climate of chaos and fear, the rogue elements of the police and army helped to take over the main national TV channel, MNBC, replacing it with President Gayoom’s old TV Maldives, and also moved to take control of key installations.
During this time, ex President Gayoom’s allies moved to retake control of the army and police.
The opposition, supported by the army and police, then offered an ultimatum to President Nasheed—step down or be faced with a bloodbath in the capital.
President Nasheed thus resigned in order to protect the public from further violence. His resignation was involuntary in that he had no choice.
On our action page, you'll see a video of President Nasheed at the Copenhagen climate talks—it was one of the great moments of the 350 movement. We also pasted an account of the coup from inside the government. Click Get More Info on the page for both. The Maldives was on course to become the world’s first carbon-neutral nation, a beacon for the rest of the planet, but for the moment, all that matters is the safety of our dear friend and his colleagues.
Days like today remind us how hard this fight will be, and how many setbacks we’ll see on the way. They also remind us that we need solidarity above all else. If you’re a praying person, include Pres. Nasheed and his family in your prayers. We know that all of you are action people—so click here to sign the petition to keep President Nasheed safe.
For more information, click here.
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