It is total chaos in Antananarivo the capital and largest city of Madagascar. Things fell apart in the usually calm island as anti-government protesters burned, looted and vandalized.
The country’s capital has witnessed four days of unrest as a political confrontation continues between the city’s mayor Andry Rajoelina and the country’s president while police battle to control angry protesters.
Smoke continues to rise from buildings and warehouses that were attacked on Monday, and the debris left by looters have filled the streets.
A television network owned by the Antananarivo city mayor had broadcasted an interview with former President Mr. Didier Ratsiraka. Who is apparently an enemy of incumbent president Mr. Marc Ravalomanana. The Interview led to protests and clashes between supporters of either parties.
According to Irin the capital’s outspoken mayor, Andry Rajoelina, 34, has accused the government of stifling democracy and clamping down on press freedom. Asking the president to step down, he demanded the formation of a transitional government, which he would lead.
The mayor called for a general strike at a banned rally on 25 January, in Antananarivo. On the 26th he also said, “Nowhere in the world has a military force ever succeeded in overcoming the force of the people. Power belongs to the people.” The same day two people were shot dead.
According to Reuters news agency unconfirmed reports from the city’s fire department, Wednesday, also claim that about 37 burnt corpses of suspected looters have been found.
“We have found perhaps as many as 37 bodies. It is hard to determine the precise numbers because the bodies are badly damaged, and there are limbs scattered all over the place,” he told the news agency.
This brings the death toll to 39.
President Ravalomanana has called for talks with Mr Rajoelina, mayor of Antananarivo but the mayor has insisted that until the shooters are produced and made to face justice, there will be no white flags and no peace talks with the president. He has also called for a transitional government to be established.
Police continue to shoot in the air in an attempt to disperse angry crowds and looters in the city. Many food and electrical shops have been broken into and fires are burning near the city’s central market area as the government seeks the return of social stability in Madagascar island.
Yesterday a curfew was imposed on the city by the country’s military, Tuesday. Residents of Antananarivo have been ordered remain in their homes between 9 pm and 4 am as the violence spreads to other cities in the country.