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Antananarivo mayor says he is in charge of country

Antananarivo's mayor, Andry Rajoelina, has proclaimed himself in charge of Madagascar in a speech to supporters. Thousands have answered his call to renew demonstrations aimed at removing the country's president.

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AFP- Madagascar's opposition leader Andry Rajoelina proclaimed himself in charge of the island's affairs Saturday during a rally against the regime.

"Since the president and the government have not taken their responsibilities, I therefore proclaim that I will run all national affairs as of today," he said.

"A request for the immediate resignation of the president will soon be filed with parliament in order to comply with the legal procedure," the Antananarivo mayor told thousands of supporters.

The shock announcement comes after days of increasing political tension on the Indian Ocean island between the popular 34-year-old mayor and the regime of President Marc Ravalomanana.

Madagascar was rocked by riots when tens of thousands turned out for a similar protest on January 25, while another demonstration was held peacefully on Wednesday.

At least 68 people have been killed across the country over the past week, according to security officials.

In recent days, Rajoelina has become more vocal in his criticism of President Marc Ravalomanana, whom he describes as a dictator.

The young mayor -- a former DJ, a keen businessman and a gifted orator -- has risen to the status of undisputed leader of the opposition.

On Friday, he announced he intended to lead the country in a two-year transition process aimed at ending the iron-fist rule of Ravalomanana and organising new elections.

The 34-year-old mayor -- a former DJ, a keen businessman and a gifted orator -- has risen to the status of undisputed leader of the opposition.

On Friday, he announced he intended to lead the country in a two-year transition process aimed at ending the iron-fist rule of Ravalomanana and organising new elections.

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