The Maldives opposition has vowed to regroup for a second night of demonstrations hours after police broke up a planned 72-hour protest demanding the release of the country's ex-president and other political leaders.

Maldivian Democratic Party spokesman Hamid Abdul Gaffoor said Saturday the party is within its legal rights to continue protests because police have unilaterally withdrawn from agreed terms.

The party demands the release from jail of former President Mohamed Nasheed, former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim and opposition leader Sheik Imran Abdulla, and the withdrawal of court action against 1,700 political activists.

It says action against the leaders and activists is the result of political vendetta by the current president, Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

The Maldives became a multiparty democracy in 2008, but recently democratic gains have been shrinking fast.