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Peace returns after Maldives leader quits amid protests

(Xinhua)

08:13, February 09, 2012

MALE, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Peace returned to the restive Maldives capital here late Tuesday after a morning of mounting protests forced Mohamed Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected president, to resign.

By afternoon, there was little indication of the political unrest, described by some people as a coup, according to Xinhua's correspondent in the city.

Republic Square, the center of the protests, was calm again with locals interviewed saying they only knew of the morning's clashes from television reports in the afternoon.

They also dismissed the claims of a coup, saying there was no bloodshed and the protesters had probably just thrown bottles and stones, pointing to empty bottles on the square.

Life on the islands seemed to be going on as usual. Tourists, who are still pouring into the islands that make up the Maldives, seemed unaware of and unconcerned by the political events.

Shops and restaurants were open and doing normal trade while others strolled in the streets as if nothing had happened.

An Indian journalist living beside Republic Square said he had asked hotel security and service staff about the morning's clashes, but no one said anything remarkable had happened.

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