* 'I will be in jail tomorrow' says ex-president
* UN says crisis must have Maldivian solution
* Protests were "act of terrorism", police say
(Adds UN comment, details)
By C. Bryson Hull
MALE, Feb 9 Maldives ex-president Mohamed
Nasheed awaited arrest in his house on Thursday, vowing to stay
and fight against the government he says ousted him in a coup
with the connivance of the police and the military.
But, as rain fell on Male, capital of the Indian Oceans
islands renowned for their luxury resorts, and supporters stood
outside Nasheed's family home, there was no sign of a move
against him by the government or police.
Police Commissioner Abdullah Riyaz, asked by Reuters if and
when Nasheed would be arrested, declined to comment, and the
government said nothing on the subject.
Nasheed, the islands' first democratically elected
president, appeared to dare the government led by his former
vice president, Mohamed Waheed Hussain Manik, to arrest him
after violent protests on Wednesday spread outside Male.
"The home minister has pledged (I will be) the first former
president to spend all my life in jail," said Nasheed, who was
relaxed and smiling and showed no signs of his reported beating
He said he hoped the international community would act
quickly as "the facts on the ground are that tomorrow I will be
Nasheed said he would accept his arrest, as he had done 27
times before when former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was in
power. Nasheed narrowly beat Gayoom in a 2008 election,
defeating the man who had jailed him for six years in all.
On Wednesday, Nasheed declared that his resignation the day
before was in fact a gunpoint coup engineered by a coterie of
police, military and political rivals, and led thousands of
supporters onto the streets where they clashed with riot police
Only about 330,000 people live permanently in the Maldives
but there has been much interest in the tumult because of the
huge number of holidaymakers who visit the islands.
The Maldives gets about one million visitors a year, most
seeking a beach or scuba diving holiday getaway at resorts that
charge up to $1,000 per night.
Earlier on Thursday, police commissioner Riyaz told
reporters that 18 police stations and two courts on other atolls
including the second-largest population centre, Addu, had been
burned or attacked by Nasheed supporters the day before.
Nasheed called the violence spontaneous.
Newly sworn in Interior Minister Mohamed Jameel, at a news
conference on Thursday, accused Nasheed and his supporters of
terrorism, echoing a police statement the night before.
"They said they are going to throw out the current
constitutionally formed government, and following that, we saw
this destruction," Jameel said. "I would define it as the worst
day in the history of the Maldives."
Jameel was the author of a pamphlet, criticising Nasheed's
religious policy as un-Islamic, which included anti-Semitic
language, part of a spate of increasingly hardline Islamist
rhetoric that has entered the Maldives political discourse.
Western diplomats are in Male, along with a Commonwealth
team that met Nasheed and other leaders on Thursday. U.N.
Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Oscar
Fernandez-Taranco also arrived for a three-day visit.
"It should be made clear that any solution to this crisis
must be generated by national actors. There can be no externally
generated solution to something that can be solved by Maldivians
themselves," Fernandez-Taranco told reporters.
The unrest has taken place far from areas frequented by
tourists, who usually land at an airport on an island near Male
and go directly to the various resorts in the 1,200-island
archipelago by speed boat or seaplane.
Protests against Nasheed's government started after he
ordered the military to arrest the criminal court chief justice,
saying he was blocking multi-million dollar corruption and human
rights cases against allies of Gayoom who, in power for 30
years, was Asia's longest-serving ruler until Nasheed beat him.
Western diplomats said they wanted all political parties,
including Nasheed's, to back down and join the unity government,
while investigations into the events surrounding the
constitutional crisis and Nasheed's exit were carried out.
"We want to take the politics off the streets and cool the
rhetoric down," a European diplomat based in Colombo told
(Writing by Nick Macfie and Bryson Hull; Editing by Robert