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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Madagascar : Mayor continues campagn: government's "riot police" kill protestors: aiming at violently removing their government

(Social Justice South Africa; c.f. CNA (Catholic; Independent; American) 30 / Jan / 2009; Zenit News (French Edition: Catholic; Independent; American) 05 / Feb / 2009; Vatican radio: 15 / 06 / 2009; Agenzia Fides/ Fides Service (Catholic; Independent; Italian) 02 / 02 / 2009; 05 / 02 / 2009; Fides: info on Madagascar; 25 / 11 / 2004; Reuters (Secular; independent; British) 07 / 02 / 2009)

Article by Marc Aupiais

A few days ago: Mayor: Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar's capital Antananarivo: was removed from his position, by Madagascar's president: after attempting to have the well known island's President: Marc Ravalomanana: removed. Rajoelina challenged his removal: was reinstated, and stepped down: his attempt to have the country's constitutional court remove their president: failed. Rajoelina supporters have consistently looted, and have held several violent protests. Up to 25 people died: at the hands of police: after his supporters were told to remove the country's president from the "Presidential" ("Ambohitsorohitra") Palace: causing police loyal to the President: to eventually open fire with live bullets. Original riot police fled in fear, but others resorted to live fire: preventing the removal of the president from his home. Rajoelina, had promised to give Ravalomanana's: "Ambohitsorohitra" presidential palace: to his new "Prime Minister": Roindefo Monja: who he has declared as such without an election, while the Madagascan president still has yet to be defeated.

Andry Rajoelina, has banked on poverty, and controversial foreign economic deals: and the manner in which the Madagascan economy has grown since Ravalomanana, its president: was elected: without much improvement in quality of life for many Madagascans. His means have largely been violent protests, as well as the airing of an interview with an ex-president/dictator of Madagascar: who is in exile, and the government also: has finally responded in a noticeably violent manner. The anti-government protestors: have attacked properties owned by they Island's president, and have shut down, apparently: all but Radio Don Bosco in Antananarivo: the Catholic Radio station, which has somehow survived: despite questioning the anti-governmental claims, of victory: as incorrect.

The protesters, however: accuse Madagascar's president of being a dictator, and at least 68 people have died, at the hands, apparently: of protesters, who broke into riots: deaths because of looting, and violence by protesters: has not been an unusual situation since their violent protests, often involving looting: began. They say that the Madagascan Government has prevented media initiatives: and objected after the sacked mayor: Andry Rajoelina's TV station: was shut down: having aired an interview: with exiled Marxist dictator: then president, then ex-president: "Didier Ratsiraka".

The UN has called on Madagascar's president to protect civilians, and Ban Ki-moom, UN Secretary General: had on Thursday: determined to send an envoy: "Haile Menkerios"; to assess how the UN (United nations): can encourage peace in the troubled nation.

Radio Don Bosco, and Fides News: both believe that the protests are losing power. Claims exist that tensions still are there: but people need to work.

While the sacked mayor: has proclaimed that he controls the Island: the government still: clearly controls the riot police. The Madagascan situation is rife with controversy and with complexity. Both sides have now resorted in some measure: to violence. Foreign nations: have expressed distress over the situation. There are hopes to cause dialogue between the sides. Madagascar's president was legitimately elected, and the Madagascan Parliament: largely consisting of his supporters: since his being elected: is the only body: which could impeach the president under the Madagascan constitution: it seems: from the ruling of their constitutional court.

It is thought that Madagascar's violent upstart, by a sacked mayor: may well have been overplayed: that there is not enough support to remove the country's president. An attempt to set up a second authority, apposing Madagascar's presidency, and government: has resulted in a power vacuum, according to the anti-government group: whose leader: has cited this as a reason to call himself leader of the country. He has said that a transitional government would contain representation from all the regions of the Island. The damage of his efforts: on the people of Madagascar: who are angry: already because of economic issues: and the effects of the global downturn: could well mean that this is a situation: that Madagascar could be better without.

Whether or not accusations about mismanagement of Madagascar are true: the Large Island nation: could soon need extensive international aid: with commerce, and communication centers having been attacked by the insurgency.

It is not the first time: that Madagascar has had two rival governments: 2002 saw violence: due to doubt as to whether or not its current president, or the Marxist predecessor: was president. When the situation was cleared up: the current: embattled President of Madagascasr: was declared the winner. There was already the visibility of signs of the current struggle of personality: in July last year.

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