The ripple effects of the wave of political crisis in the Indian Ocean nation of the Maldives has reached London, but in silent protests and a series of resignation by Maldivian diplomats to the United Kingdom.
This afternoon, Naushad Waheed Hassan resigned from his post of Deputy High Commissioner of the Maldives to the UK. He is the brother of the current Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed.
Reading a statement in front of a group of protestors who came to the Maldivian High Commission office in Nottingham Place from the Commonwealth Secretariat office, their original place of protest, he said, “I cannot serve a regime that has brought down the democratically elected government.”
Hassan said: “ And I say this to my brother—you are my brother and I will always love you. Do not rob our people of our right to choose our government. Do not be a party to this police brutality that is ongoing in the country.”
Hassan’s step down follows the resignation of the Maldivian High Commissioner to the UK, Dr. Farah Faizal, who resigned on Feb. 8, a day after the Maldives’ democratically elected president Mohamed Nasheed resigned. The Maldivian ambassador to the United Nations also resigned this week.
Nasheed said he was ousted in a coup. Faizal also believes that it is a coup and the current government is thus illegitimate.
“I think people who believe in democracy cannot support a regime like this,” she said walking to the Maldivian High Commission Office. “That is the reason why people are resigning. And especially after seeing the police brutality, people who have principles can’t serve a government like this.”
Mohamed Ahmed, 23-year-old Maldivian standing in front of the Commonwealth, handing in flyers to passersby, said he came after seeing the police brutality on television.
“I’m protesting against the violence and the coup,” said Ahmed whose father is a politician in the deposed government. “Other than that I wouldn’t be involved in politics.”
“We have been robbed of the democracy we had,” he said.
While fingers are being pointed at the new president, Ibrahim, a Maldivian transiting via London and present in the protest but didn’t want to identify his last name, shared a different story of Waheed.
“It’s so unlike him to do something like this,” said Ibrahim, who was a junior to Waheed in school and knows him personally. “It’s out of character for him to do this. Has he been forced to do it is my question.”