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#Maldives: We will defend Islam and National Sovereignty: President Waheed

Male', Maldives.
"We will defend our nation, its culture and Islam with the last drop of our blood." pledged President Mohamed Waheed, amidst rousing cheers by the thousands gathered in support of his National Unity Government. In a rude wake up call for Mohamed Nasheed and fallen government, thousands thronged to Male's Artificial Beach today to stand in unity with President Waheed's government. Organizers of the event estimate over 50,000 supporters at the rally, with over 15,000 having already arrived from the islands. President Waheed was backed by the leaders of 8 political parties and 150 civic associations.

This is in sharp contrast to the series of rallies being held by former President Nasheed at the South East corner of Male' since February 17th. The most support for Nasheed was received on the 17th itself, with an estimated 7,000 hard core MDP members attending from Male' and the islands combined. Since then, Nasheed's rallies have at the most amassed 2,000 at any given time. A competing Women's March held by Nasheed's supporters this afternoon gathered an estimated 1,000, another glaring failure to dredge public support for the failed regime.

Days of biased reporting by international press, anti Maldives tourism campaigns by foreign friends of Nasheed, and strongly worded statements by the Commonwealth calling for foreign participation in the national inquiry, plus heavy handed interference by neighbourhood bully India in the past weeks had raised Maldivian hackles against foreign interference. President Waheed allayed many of these fears by pledging that he would uphold Islam and defend it and national sovereignty against domestic and foreign attacks. “I took oath of Office to uphold the religion of Islam and the constitution.", he said.

Speaking to the masses at his rally, President Waheed, in no uncertain terms, condemned Nasheed's Maldives Democratic Party as terrorists, saying, "No one who loves our nation will instigate violence and torch public places. They (MDP) are the rebels in reality. They are the enemies of this great nation."

The President further went on to warn that, "There is no place for people who destroy our economy.

Speaking to tumultuous support, Dr. Waheed said that his Government would fulfill citizens' needs, that they would implement social programs such as affordable housing, medical insurance, social safety nets.

Calling upon the Maldivian people to be patient as the Unity Government addressed the current crises, Dr. Waheed said, "This change happened because it is Allaah's will. Our Government will fulfill every wish of the Maldivian people. We will not back down an inch. Be patient."

Political party leaders speaking at the rally pledged their support for President Waheed's national unity government, and called upon the MDP to join them. However, Nasheed and his supporters continue to be defiant, contending that the National Unity Government was unconstitutional and calling for snap elections.

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