25 April 2018

Madagascar: Appeal for Calm in Tense Madagascar

Madagascar remained tense Tuesday as opposition supporters attended the funerals of the people killed during last Saturday's protests in Antananarivo.

Security agencies appealed for calm and respect for human rights by the conflicting parties.

A vigil had been held in front of the Antananarivo city hall on Monday night.

The Antananarivo police boss, Gen Angelo Christian Ravelonarivo, ordered the regional security forces to allow peaceful demonstrations.

"There should be no more bloodshed in our homeland," he said, adding that "this is a political issue and the solution should be political."

Political reforms

Gen Ravelonarivo, however, said that looters should be dealt with.

The island state has since last Saturday been on the edge of demands for political reforms and the resignation of President Hery Rajaonarimampianina.

Some 73 MPs allied to former presidents Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina are coordinating the agitations.

A member of the "MPs for Change", Ms Hanitra Razafimanantsoa, said they were ready to pay the price for change.

The protesters are opposed to new electoral laws, they say were designed to lock out their candidates from the presidential race due later this year

Live bullets

Police on Saturday used live bullets and tear gas canisters to disperse protests in the capital Antananarivo, leading to death and injuries.

"President Rajaonarimampianina is no longer fit to rule after he ordered the killing of citizens, Ms Razafimanantsoa said.

"He does not seem to be in control of the situation any more."

President Rajaonarimampianina said on Sunday evening that the opposition protest rally was a coup plot.

Ms Razafimanantsoa claimed the president had directed the security forces to crackdown on the protesters.

"He even ordered them to capture me, dead or alive. Thanks to God, the military top officials acted in a different way, which is commendable attitude," she added.

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