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Maldives President Nasheed defeated in face-off by Civic Coalition

Male', Maldives.

Maldives President Nasheed suffered a humiliating public defeat yesterday in a face off with civic associations and interest groups.

In an attempt to challenge the popularity support behind the Civic Coalition, President Nasheed organized a counter rally at the same time in a nearby location. The anti-civic rally hosted by Nasheed was only attended by close kin and cronies, supported by a sprinkling of MDP hardliners, Government Ministers, heads of Government corporations, political appointees in key government positions and party leadership figures. MDP insiders report that many in the MDP leadership had been personally called by Nasheed and their attendance demanded.

In contrast, thousands of civilians flocked to the Civil Coalition protest against President Nasheed and his corrupt government. The civic protest lasted 8 hours and showed no signs of diminishing numbers. Civic Coalition leaders disperesed their supporters quickly just after midnight when Nasheed's MDP threatened direct action against the mass of civilians gathered at Victory Square. Media reported preparations for direct action taking place at the MDP meeting hall, and calls for all MDP to join the attack. Preparatory scenes at the MDP Meeting Hall were broadcast by the state television network MNBC One, leading to fears amongst the general populace.

Nasheed's afternoon rally petered out in just over an hour, and was called off by him when it showed no signs of gaining strength or fervor.

Media estimates about 12,000 civilian attendance at the Civic Protest, compared to less than 1,000 at President Nasheed's rally.

The discipline showed by the civil protestors and their positive response to the coalition leadership was noteworthy. This could be ringing alarm bells for President Nasheed and his militant party. MDP has announced that they will hold a second rally today.

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