Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Madagascar: Bodies found as police open fire with tear gas

Security forces in Madagascar's capital fired teargas to disperse mobs of looters after an anti-government demonstration in the city center, witnesses said on Monday, Reuters reported.

Thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets of Antananarivo to support sacked Mayor Andry Rajoelina's call for daily protests aimed at forcing President Marc Ravalomanana to step down.

A power struggle between Rajoelina, a 34-year-old former disc jockey, and Ravalomanana has led to the worst civil unrest in years on the world's fourth largest island,, killing 125 people and devastating its USD 390 million tourism sector.

Police used teargas on looters, but the rally at the May 13 Plaza -- the capital's main square which has been the epicenter for popular revolt since Madagascar won independence from France in 1972 -- was peaceful.

"About five hours after the protesters had left the 13 May Plaza quietly, the security forces fired teargas canisters at looters outside the old Trading Center and sent them running," local journalist Faniry Ranaivoson said.

Source: FOCUS Information Agency

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