UPDATE: Madagascar leaders condemn deadly protests as 'coup'

2018-04-23 06:01
Hery Rajaonarimampianina (File: AFP)

Hery Rajaonarimampianina (File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The president of Madagascar on Sunday condemned as a "coup" deadly opposition-led protests against new electoral laws and warned "troublemakers" against further action.

"I call on all the people of Madagascar to be calm, respect democracy, but what happened on Saturday is nothing but a coup," President Hery Rajaonarimampianina said in a television address, referring to clashes between security forces and police and opposition protesters.

"We must all be convinced that a coup d'etat brings no solution for our country's future. I warn troublemakers and those who insist on hatred and clashes in search of a bloodbath or loss in human life," he added.

Two people were killed and 16 wounded in the clashes on Saturday.

Dozens of soldiers had earlier been deployed around the public square in the capital of the restive island nation.

The soldiers later vacated the square in Antananarivo, clearing the way for some 100 opposition activists to gather, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

The demonstrators were protesting against new electoral laws that the opposition claim could bar some candidates from standing in upcoming presidential elections.

 'Nothing but a coup'

The large Indian Ocean island is due to hold polls in late November or December.

Authorities had declared the Saturday protest illegal, but opposition activists defied the order.

"I came here to pay homage to those killed yesterday here," said protester Nirina, who refused to give her surname.

"I was afraid that there would be more deaths today, but fortunately the soldiers left," she added, saying that she thought more soldiers had been deployed.

She said she and other protesters were calling for President Hery Rajaonarimampianina "to resign".

'The worst regime'

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 him during a coup.

Both were barred from running in 2013 and their parties have been involved in the protests.

Madagascar endured several years of turmoil after Ravalomanana was ousted as president in the 2009 coup.

He was overthrown following an army mutiny that allowed Rajoelina -- then Antananarivo mayor -- to become the country's unelected transition president until 2014.

Rajaonarimampianina's arrival in power brought a temporary end to Madagascar's long series of political crises.

"I have lived under different regimes in Madagascar but it is this one, under Rajaonarimampianina, which is the worst," said protester Aime Abel Jocelyn, who travelled 500 kilometres from the town of Betroka.

"I came here to help bring change... to find a solution for my country."

The European Union mission in Madagascar in a statement called on the country's political actors to exercise restraint and expressed its support for "credible, transparent and inclusive presidential elections in 2018".

The African Union representative in Madagascar, Ahmed Youssouf Hawa, also called for calm, restraint and accountability.

"Madagascar does not need to plunge back into a difficult situation just a few months before the elections," he said in a statement.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    hery rajaonarimampianina  |  madagascar  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.