Contrary to the images of streetfighting and police brutality,an easy calm prevails over much of the capital city of the Maldives. The walk to former president Mohamed Nasheeds ancestral home is a peaceful stroll through the winding and congested streets of the town centre. A simple green door,barely wide enough for two people to enter together,leads up to the home of the man who brought democracy to these islands in 2008.
Dressed in a bush shirt,trousers and a pair of slippers,Anni,as he is known to his people,walks out of the bedroom smiling. He exchanges pleasantries and promises to talk for longer later,before walking out the green door on his way to the mosque for afternoon prayers.
As he steps out,the neighbourhood awakens. There is cheering,and shouts of encouragement. Supporters rush to walk in step with him. Their numbers swell rapidly,and as Nasheed enters the mosque after five minutes,several hundreds follow him in.
The crowd is never violent,but clearly angry. Some people are louder and more agitated than others,but everyone agrees not like this,he should not have been removed like this.
As Nasheed walks back after prayers,the hundreds become a few thousands. The procession walks past the headquarters of the Maldives National Defence Force,and there is jeering and taunting. The crowd addresses new president Mohamed Waheed directly: President,president. Go,go,go!,followed by Nasheed zindabad,zindabad.
Given the visible support,Nasheed might as well have turned the corner and marched straight back into the office from which he was ousted on Tuesday at gunpoint,as he said later. But that is not an option for him. Anni,has decided he will return just the way he came in first in an election,through a victory even bigger than his 2008 landslide.
To be reinstated right now is something that I do not want, he told The Indian Express. Elections have to take place. They have to take place in the next two-three months.
Hours before he was forced out,Nasheed had,as reported by The Indian Express on Friday,reached out to India for military assistance. But New Delhi had chosen not to step in. That didnt upset him,Nasheed said today.
I am not disappointed at all. I understand the intricacies of diplomacy and foreign relations. That is how governments behave and that is how they will always behave, he told The Indian Express.
The young leader met a delegation from India today,apart from delegations from the UN and the UK. The old order had struck back in the Maldives,he said,but they wouldnt win ultimately.
There is no doubt that this is the old order. It may not be (former president and longtime dictator Maumoon Abdul) Gayoom personally,but it is the old order that wants to come back to power.
What had happened in the islands was not unusual,Nasheed said,making the point that new democracies lack the structures to make them instantly successful.
Maldives had free and fair elections three years before Egypt and I had said that this would spread to the middle east. The middle east will once again repeat Maldives. New governments will be formed and will fall, Nasheed said.
The ousted president has stressed that he sees early elections as the only way out of the crisis that threatens to impact the tourism industry vital to his nations survival.
Waheed has to resign. The speaker of the house can take over for two-three months and then fresh elections should be called, he said. It will not be possible for Waheed to remain in power and remain in control.
Nasheed even has a to-do list ready for when he returns to power. I will start with reforming the judiciary. I should have (early in my term) got the criminal justice system reformed. He also plans structural changes in the police and military in order to harmonise them into the democratic system.