Fresh violence has broken out in the Maldives after Mohammed Nasheed, the ousted president, claimed he was forced to give up his office at gunpoint, raising the prospect of a fierce struggle for power in the island nation. Plumes of smoke rose above the capital Male after Nasheed supporters threw petrol bombs at police and attacked a private television station which had been critical of his government. Earlier, Nasheed himself was beaten when riot police fired teargas and launched baton charges against hundreds of his supporters who had gathered in Republic Square, according to his Maldivian Democratic party (MDP). "We strongly condemned the violent attack by the Maldivian police service on President Nasheed and senior officials of the MDP," the party said in a statement. "President Nasheed is being beaten up as of now in an ongoing peaceful protest." The 43-year-old pro-democracy activist resigned on Tuesday under pressure from the nation's military after a mutiny by police officers and clashes between demonstrators in the capital, Male.