The crackdown on judges and the emergency came after the top court ordered release of Yameen's political rivals, besides enabling exiled politicians, including former president Mohammad Nasheed to take part in upcoming elections.
"Maldivians have had enough of this criminal and illegal regime", Nasheed said.
"China has always closely followed situation in Maldives".
Eva Abdulla, an opposition member of parliament, called the emergency "nothing but a purge of the political opposition, the judiciary and the parliament".
"The Supreme court has no authority to do so", Yameen said.
Despite the declaration of the SOE, there will be no enforcement of a curfew and general movements, services and businesses will not be affected, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Maldives.
According to the SOP, the troops are kept ready to meet any eventuality, crisis or requirement for help, sources said, adding there is nothing unusual about such SOPs.
In a video posted online, the ex-president addressed his supporters (in Divehi), saying that he had not "done anything to warrant arrest" while urging them to "remain strong".
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"I have not anything to warrant my arrest".
The Maldives has experienced political unrest since Mohamed Nasheed, the island's first democratically-elected leader, was forced to quit amid a mutiny by police in 2012. It has shuttered parliament and resisted worldwide calls to respect the judicial order and restore democracy.
As India closely monitors the situation in Maldives, almost 30 years ago, it was the Indian government which solved the political crisis in the island nation and successfully foiled a coup to overthrow the then Maldives president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
"The Maldivian government must uphold its obligations under global human rights law and not use measures adopted under the state of emergency as a justification for further human rights violations".
The U.S. National Security Council said it stands "with the people of Maldives".
"This [emergency] can not become a licence for further repression", Omar Waraich, the group's deputy South Asia director, said on Twitter.
According to industry estimates, around 60, 000 Indians travel to Maldives every year and October to March being the peak season now 4500 Indian tourists are estimated to be present at the island nation.