LATEST UPDATES: The presidential office in Maldives has said that the state of Emergency was imposed in order to protect the citizens of the country in the aftermath of the protests over the supreme court's verdict. Meanwhile, a senior defence expert has ruled out a possibility of India trying a "Operation Cactus"-like military intervention.
After the United States, the United Kingdom Foreign Office has urged President Abdulla Yameen to end the state of emergency and restore democratic institutions. Meanwhile, the MDP, the largest party in the country, demanded that the arrested judges be released at the earliest.
The united Opposition has condemned the state of Emergency in the island, calling it "unconstitutional". The US National Security Council has also tweeted in support of the Maldivian people and urged the president to follow the directions of the supreme court.
A leader of the Maldivian opposition, Eva Abdulla has slammed the Yameen administration for its crackdown against the chief justice in the aftermath of the state of Emergency, which was imposed on Monday.
The Maldivian Police has arrested the Chief Justice of the Maldives Supreme Court Abdulla Saeed and other judges in alleged cases of corruption. The arrest came just hours after President Abdulla Gayoom declared a state of Emergency.
Maldives President Abdulla Yameen declared a 15-day state of emergency in the honeymoon islands, before heavily armed troops stormed the country's top court and a former president was arrested in a deepening political crisis.
The tiny tourist archipelago has been plunged into chaos recently, with the president pitted against the Supreme Court after he refused to comply with its Thursday order to release nine political dissidents.
The tense standoff comes amid a years-long government crackdown on dissent that has battered the image of the upmarket holiday paradise, with the president jailing almost all the political opposition since he came to power in 2013.
Maldives police arrested Yameen's estranged half-brother and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who had sided with the main opposition and was campaigning against him.
The 80-year-old, who was president for 30 years until the country's first democratic elections in 2008, was taken away from his home in the capital Male around midnight, according to a tweet from his daughter Yumna Maumoon.
File image of Maldives president Abdulla Yameen. AFP
Shortly before he was taken in by the police, Gayoom also recorded a video message posted on Twitter to his supporters.
"I have not done anything to be arrested," he said. "I urge you to remain steadfast in your resolve too. We will not give up on the reform work we are doing."
Heavily armed troops and police special operations units had earlier stormed the Supreme Court building where Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and others were sheltering, the court said on Twitter, though their fate was not immediately clear.
Hundreds of people had gathered outside the courts complex and police used pepper spray to disperse the crowds.
The court's shock move on Thursday had also ordered the government to restore the seats of 12 legislators sacked for defecting from Yameen's party, giving the opposition the majority in the assembly, meaning they could potentially impeach the president.
A defiant government -- which has since ordered police and troops to resist any attempt to arrest or impeach Yameen -- said the court was not above the law.
"The Supreme Court ruling stands in defiance of the highest authority in the country: the constitution," government spokesman Ibrahim Hussain Shihab said in a statement.
"The Supreme Court must remember that it too is bound by law."
He said the government would "facilitate calm" and ensure the safety of all citizens and tourists "throughout this unusual period."
With inputs from AFP
Published Date: Feb 06, 2018 10:52 AM
| Updated Date: Feb 06, 2018 11:55 AM