28 January 2009

Bad news from Madagascar

Photo via Maika Razafindranbeza's Facebook page

In a bizzare revisit of the civil unrest of 2002 and 2003, Madagascar is experiencing fighting as tensions climb between its president and the mayor of its capital city, Antananarivo.

In '02, Marc Ravalomanana was the plucky young mayor of Tana, fighting in a presidential race against the incumbent Didier Ratsiraka.

This time around, Ravalomanana is the president, and mayor Andry Rajoelina is supported by the exiled Ratsiraka in a new (old?) struggle for power. Reuters reports Ravalomanana shut down a private television station owned by Rajoelina in December after accusating the mayor of using the station to promote civil unrest.

Riots in response to this action have resulted in a death toll of over 40, with o end in sight.

Reuters also reports that rioters burned a state-owned television and radio station on Monday.

Makes me sad for the innocents who are suffering thanks to the actions of a few powerful men. I know many families in Antananarivo, and I know this conflict is affecting them, as well.

I'll post more about this situation as I find information.