Maldives rocked by protests against President Nasheed

Maldivian police detain female protesters in Male, Maldives, on 1 May 2011 The opposition promised further anti-government protests

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Police in Maldives have used tear gas and batons to disperse a mass anti-government protest in the capital Male.

Several thousand people gathered to demand President Mohamed Nasheed quit because of the worsening economy.

An opposition spokesman said more than 30 people had been injured in the early morning clashes in the normally peaceful tourist paradise.

Mr Nasheed took office in Maldives' first multi-party election in 2008, ending 30 years of autocratic rule.

At least 10 people were arrested as protesters expressed their anger on Saturday night at soaring food prices and rising unemployment.

A police official said only those who had damaged public property were detained and that the situation had been brought under control.

But the opposition said more protests would take place on Sunday night.

The main opposition DRP, or the Maldivian People's Party, says a recent currency devaluation has increased the price of essentials by more than 30% in recent weeks.

But the government says the price hike is linked to the recent increase in global food and oil prices.

The Maldives, which is made up of 1, 200 islands scattered in the Indian Ocean, is entirely dependent on imports, and tourism is one of its major sources of revenue.

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