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Defying rising living costs, opposition leaders in Madagascar were detained

President Marc Ravalomanana lead Madagascar Protest

During a protest against rising living expenses and economic hardship in the country on Saturday, police in Madagascar detained two prominent members of the main opposition party.

Several hundred anti-government protesters assembled in Antananarivo’s center early that morning, under the watchful eye of a sizable military and police force.

Following clashes between protesters and law enforcement, police claimed to have detained Jean-Claude Rakotonirina, the national coordinator of the opposition Tiako I Madagasikara (TIM) party, and Rina Randriamasinoro, the party’s secretary general. Later, the two were released.

According to Antananarivo’s prefect Angelo Ravelonarivo, “they were arrested and placed in police prison because they made comments inciting hatred and public unrest.”

In several nations, inflation has risen to the highest level in decades as a result of the conflict in Ukraine and the relaxation of Covid outbreak.

The protesters arrived to discover security personnel blocking access to the location, which was intended to be a warehouse owned by opposition leader Marc Ravalomanana.

Then protesters organized a sit-in outside the structure.

Social media users posted video of police removing Rakotonirina and Randriamasinoro from the throng before transporting them in a police pick-up.

According to opposition member Fetra Ralambozafimbololona, “the rally was authorized yesterday by the prefect and then this morning we discovered the police outside the gate.”

The arrests provoked more protests, and after promising to stay put until the two men were freed, demonstrators dispersed in the afternoon.

A police spokesman reported that Randriamasinoro and Rakotonirina were eventually released early in the evening, adding that officials had not yet decided whether to file charges against them.

We can’t say anything

The opposition and rights organizations accuse President Andry Rajoelina’s administration of repressing dissent and infrequently allowing demonstrations, which is why protests are uncommon in the nation.

At the gathering, 63-year-old accountant Samuel Ravelarison stated, “We can’t say anything further.”

We arrived to protest the exorbitant expense of living.

The prefect, Ravelonarivo, claimed that although the demonstration had not been forbade, he had recommended that it take place outside of the city’s core.

Madagascar, one of the world’s poorest countries, is still struggling economically as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and a string of harsh meteorological conditions.

More than 200 people have been killed by tropical storms and cyclones that have pounded the nation this year, compounding the effects of a catastrophic drought that has devastated the island’s south and caused widespread starvation and famine-like conditions.

In 2009, 48-year-old Rajoelina overthrew Ravalomanana with the support of the military.

After defeating his predecessor in an election marred by claims of fraud, he took office again in 2019.


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