Google Alert - Madagascar" - Andry Rajoelina

Nampidirin'i radotiana | 25 Jan, 2009

Tsy azo hodiana fanina intsony fa manomboka tafaporotsaka aty ivelany ny disadisa misy any Dago any. Nivoaka tamin'ny Google Alert "Madagascar" mantsy ny zava-niseho tany Ambohijatovo sy Analakely anikeo maraina. 


Andry Rajoelina

©2009 Google - Map data ©2009 Europa Technologies - Terms of Use

Vocal Madagascar mayor calls for strike to 'reclaim democracy'

ANTANANARIVO (AFP) — The mayor of Madagascar's capital Antananarivo, who has branded the Indian Ocean island's government a dictatorship, called for a strike on Monday to "reclaim democracy."

Addressing more than 20,000 supporters at the historic Place du 13 Mai square on Saturday, Andry Rajoelina said "leaders who do not care about the people should not be there. We are here because we refuse to be gagged."

"I am calling for a general strike on Monday (in the capital) by government workers, students and all residents of Antananarivo," the 34-year-old told the rally which was held despite a police ban.

"I urge all the people to continue the struggle to reclaim democracy. I am ready to lead the people should there be a transition. I will be your spokesman."

Interior Minister Gervais Rakotonirina appealed for calm after the rally.

"Following the declarations made today... the government is following the events and urges people to be calm and be wary of manipulations," he told reporters.

Rajoelina ran against President Marc Ravalomana's party as an independent candidate in municipal elections in 2007 and since taking office has grown into the regime's most vocal opponent.

Ravalomanana was re-elected in December 2006 polls and other elections since have generally tightened his grip on power but the mayor of the island's capital is proving a thorn in the president's side.

Rajoelina has recently and repeatedly condemned what he says are shrinking freedoms in Madagascar and also fiercely criticised a massive project to lease vast swathes of farmland to South Korean industrial giant Daewoo.

The president is currently in South Africa and is expected back on Monday.

The crowd dispersed peacefully after Saturday's rally from the square, named after the day in 1972 when fire razed down the Antananarivo city hall during protests that saw the fall of the country's first president Philibert Tsiranana.

The tug-of-war between the Antananarivo mayor and the president intensified on December 13 when the government closed down Rajoelina's television network "Viva" after it broadcast an interview with former president Didier Ratsiraka.

Ratsiraka ruled the island for 25 years and has lived in France since 2002 after losing a deadly political struggle with Ravalomanana which saw the island being effectively split for some time with two parallel administrations.

On January 17, Rajoelina inaugurated a new square in the capital and named it "Democracy Square", in a move widely interpreted as a message to the regime