Curfew clamped in Madagascar capital as riots continue

January 28th, 2009 - 1:08 am ICT by IANS  

Antananarivo, Jan 27 (DPA) Madagascar Army imposed curfew in capital Antananarivo Tuesday night following 48 hours of violent anti-government protests which claimed at least 19 lives.Residents of Antananarivo have been ordered to remain indoors between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. in order to prevent riots from being escalated.

According to the police, armed soldiers had shot dead five looters as widespread pillaging of businesses, particularly businesses owned by President Marc Ravalomanana, continued Tuesday in the capital and five regional towns.

Pro-opposition Radio Antsiva also reported several more looters had been shot dead in the southern city of Tulear. It was not possible to get immediate confirmation.

The looting began Monday after a demonstration by tens of thousands of opposition supporters protesting what they call the president’s growing authoritarianism.

The demonstrators are supporters of Antananarivo Mayor Andre Rajoelina, who said the demonstration was to denounce Ravalomanana’s authoritarian tendencies.

The president Tuesday made an appeal on Radio Antsiva, the only radio still on air in the capital after protestors burned down two TV and radio stations, for a return to calm.

Western donors had been pushing for Ravalomanana and Rajoelina to hold talks Tuesday but the talks had yet to take place. The mayor told radio he did not want to meet with the president but did not give any reason for that.

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