Renewed confrontations between protesters and police

Protesters have gathered in Antananarivo Saturday following Mayor Andry Rajoelina's call for renewed demonstrations to remove the country's president. At least 68 people have been killed over the past week in anti-government riots.


AFP- Around 2,000 demonstrators heeded the call of Madagascar's opposition leader Andry Rajoelina Saturday to hold a protest against the regime in the centre of the capital.

Some protestors hurled rocks at security forces while the crowd, wearing the orange caps and tee-shirts of Rajoelina's movement, awaited the arrival of its hero on May 13 square, a symbol of the nation's democratic struggle.

Two trucks packed with anti-riot forces swiftly turned back when they were met by several hundred protestors, some of whom started throwing stones, an AFP correspondent reported.

The Indian Ocean island's capital 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, who is the mayor of Antananarivo, has become more vocal in his criticism of President Marc Ravalomanana, whom he describes as a dictator.

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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