Madagascans return to protests after clashes
April 23 2018 02:29 PM
A woman at a restaurant watches national television broadcasting President Hery Rajaonarimampianina addressing the nation, in Antananarivo.


Hundreds of Madagascan opposition supporters returned to the streets on Monday to protest against the president and a deadly crackdown by security forces on an anti-government demonstration.
Two people were killed and at least 16 people wounded at protests in the capital Antananarivo on Saturday that President Hery Rajaonarimampianina denounced as an attempted coup.
As on Sunday, security forces banned access to the May 13 square in the city centre during the morning before withdrawing to allow the protesters to gather peacefully.
"To avoid violent clashes, which could cause great damage between Madagascans, we chose to leave the place we had previously protected," Defence Minister General Beni Xavier Rasolofonirina told reporters.
But he warned the protesters that the police would "never accept any state institution established outside the election process, because that is what is consistent with the constitution."
The demonstrators have been protesting against new electoral laws that the opposition claim could bar some candidates from standing in upcoming presidential elections.
The large Indian Ocean island, which has been beset by decades of political instability, is due to hold polls in late November or December.
Authorities had declared the Saturday protest as illegal, but about 1,000 opposition activists defied the order and security forces used tear gas to break up the crowds.
Elected in 2013, Rajaonarimampianina has not yet announced whether he will stand for re-election.
But two former heads of state have already mooted runs: Marc Ravalomanana, who was president from 2002 to 2009, and Andry Rajoelina, who removed Ravalomanana during a coup. 
Both were barred from running in 2013 and their parties have been involved in the protests.

Last updated: April 23 2018 02:50 PM

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