The ousted leader of the Maldives, who claims he was deposed in a coup, called for fresh elections on Friday and threatened street protests over the detention of his party members.
Mohamed Nasheed, who says rebel police and army officers forced him to resign Tuesday, claims up to 350 people connected to his former administration or his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) have since been detained.
Several senior MDP figures were badly beaten during a demonstration Wednesday, allegedly by police, while at least two party councillors were among 75 arrested in the second-biggest city of Addu, its police chief told AFP.
Nasheed claimed police were "ransacking homes in Addu" and said he would travel there in the next 24 hours unless the violence stopped. "We will get on the streets," he warned.
The local mayor of Addu, Abdulla Sodig, earlier told AFP by telephone that he was in hiding. The threat of new protests could spell further instability in the Indian Ocean country which depends on the hundreds of thousands of high-end travellers and honeymooners who visit its pristine islands each year.
A UN special envoy arrived Friday for talks with the new administration headed by former vice president Mohamed Waheed, who Nasheed accuses of conspiring in the coup plot.
Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco reached the Indian Ocean nation's capital Male early Friday and held an hour-long meeting with Waheed, but declined to comment to journalists afterwards.
"There can be no externally generated solution to something that can be solved by Maldivians themselves," Fernandez-Taranco said as he arrived, adding that the UN was concerned for Nasheed's safety.
MEA man off to Maldives | Nasheed walking free despite warrant | UN envoy calls for peace | Nasheed calls for peace