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Renewed clashes leave dozens wounded

Clashes on Thursday, between supporters of ousted Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana and government security forces, have left 36 wounded. This was the second day of protests despite a ban against demonstrations.

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AFP - Thirty six people were wounded Thursday as Madagascan security forces clashed with ousted president Marc Ravalomanana's supporters who staged second day of protests despite a demonstration ban.

Head of the emergency unit at the capital city's main hospital Cornell Rafolohanitrarivo said "we have received 36 wounded" without giving further details.

Other hospital sources said many of the wounded suffered bullet wounds and one of them was in a critical state.

Groups of protesters erected road barriers and battled the security forces who had earlier blocked them from gathering at a park in downtown Antananarivo and fired warning shots and tear gas to disperse them.

A security official who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity said that one police officer was badly beaten unconcious and his gun stolen.

Meanwhile a spokesman of Ravalomanana's TIM party said four of their lawmakers were arrested durring the protest.

"We don't know the reason (for the arrest). We only know that they are at the national inquiry commission," Raharinaivo Andrianatoandro told AFP.

On Tuesday, the country's transitional administration of Andry Rajoelina banned public protests a day after two Ravalomanana supporters were killed as security forces broke up a rally.

Ravalomanana's supporters have been rallying in the capital to demand the return of their leader who was forced to resign last month by his army-backed opposition rival Rajoelina.

The former president fled to exile in southern Africa.

The series of tense rallies to demand Rajoelina's departure is reminiscent of the daily protests he organised at the start of the year to obtain Ravalomanana's ouster.
  

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