Maldives: Violence grips atoll that hosted SAARC

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Maldives: Violence grips atoll that hosted SAARC
Colombo:  Gutted vehicles and buildings in the picturesque Maldivian atoll Addu, which hosted the SAARC summit last year, are a stark reminder of the violence that swept through it following the ouster of Mohamed Nasheed as president.

A news website on Thursday put out photographic evidence of the violence that broke out in capital Male and quickly spread to other parts of the atoll nation after thousands of Nasheed supporters took to the streets.

Photographs on Haveeru online show police stations were targetted in Addu. Police vehicles were torched. The fire brigade struggled to douse the flames.

The Maldivian police has been largedly credited with the violent demonstrations that forced Nasheed to step down on Tuesday. He has said that he was ordered to quit at gunpoint.

One Haveeru image showed at least four charred motorcycles. Another was of blackened walls of the Hithadhoo police station. A policeman wearing protective gear is seen walking away with a carton containing documents.

A dramatic image clicked at night was of a building aflame. It was not clear whether it was a police station.

Heart-shaped Addu Atoll is in the southern extreme of the country.

Addu atoll is the main economic and administrative centre in the south. Its 28,000 people are spread out over seven inhabited islands, according to Lonely Planet.

Last year it hosted the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, attended among others by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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