‘Dictatorship is coming back to the Maldives and democracy is slipping away’

Mohamed Nasheed was busy campaigning to reduce global carbon emissions and counter the climate change that would drown his country. But then he resigned the presidency. At gunpoint.

Mat McDermott/Flickr

This is definitely not how Mohamed Nasheed imagined he would be promoting a new film about his campaign against climate change. The documentary follows the charismatic young leader of the Maldives, an island nation slowly sinking into the ocean, as he lobbies world leaders, addresses the UN, and makes international headlines by conducting the world’s first underwater cabinet meeting. But now that The Island President beginning to appear in cinemas, Nasheed is no longer the island’s president. Ousted from power in February, and now a quasi-fugitive in his own country, he arrives for our interview via Skype dishevelled and breathless, following another dramatic day.

“Well it’s been fairly challenging today,” he admits, lighting a cigarette and composing himself with a rueful grin. “First there was this scuffle inside parliament, but mostly there were a number of people who were demonstrating outside. The military charged at the crowd and therefore there were disturbances throughout the day. And after sunset the police and the military moved down to where we have been having our rallies and gatherings, and they ransacked and dismantled that place, and cordoned off almost a good half of Malé town.”

To keep reading, click here.

About Climate Desk

The Climate Desk is a journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate. The partners are The Atlantic, Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Slate, and Wired.