Madagascar protesters seek president's resignation

2018-04-24 17:04
A child stands guard in front of metal pieces as a few hundred people gather in the centre of Antananarivo to erect a roadblock, during a rally to protest against the new electoral laws. ( File, AFP)

A child stands guard in front of metal pieces as a few hundred people gather in the centre of Antananarivo to erect a roadblock, during a rally to protest against the new electoral laws. ( File, AFP)

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Hundreds of opposition activists in Madagascar on Tuesday called for the president to step down on a fourth straight day of anti-government protests in which at least two people have died.

Seven months ahead of presidential and legislative elections, the opposition accuses the regime of trying to elbow them out of the race through new electoral laws they claim benefit the incumbent.

They allege that the new laws could bar some candidates from standing in the presidential election.

Crowds gathered at a square in front of the capital Antananarivo's town hall asking President Hery Rajaonarimampianina to quit.

"Today we officially demand the resignation of the government, starting with you the president," Hanitriniaina Razafimanantsoa, a leading protester said.

The crowd chanted back "Right now, right now, right now".

Two people were killed and at least 16 people wounded on the first day of the protests on Saturday, which the president denounced as an attempted coup.

Authorities had declared the Saturday protest illegal, but about 1 000 opposition activists defied the order and security forces used tear gas to break up the gathering.

The large Indian Ocean island, which has been beset by decades of political instability, is due to hold polls in late November or December.

Elected in 2013, Rajaonarimampianina has not yet announced whether he will stand for re-election.

But two former heads of state have already said they would contest: 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 demonstrations.

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Read more on:    madagascar  |  southern africa

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