Madagascar police fire tear gas to break up post-election protest

Mamyrael, AFP | Supporters of presidential candidate Marc Ravalomanana scramble as security forces fire tear gas during a rally in Antananarivo on January 2, 2019.

Madagascan security forces on Wednesday fired tear gas to break up a protest by supporters of losing presidential candidate Marc Ravalomanana, who claims he was denied victory in last month's election because of fraud.


In the run-off vote on December 19, Ravalomanana won 44 percent against the winner Andry Rajoelina on 55 percent, according to provisional results.

Thousands of Ravalomanana's supporters gathered in the centre of the capital Antananarivo but were quickly dispersed by police using tear gas, said an AFP reporter at the scene.

"We came to erect a giant screen projecting anomalies in the second-round election but we were fired at with tear gas," Hanitra Razafimanantsoa, a lawmaker from Ravalomanana's party, told the media.

"Respect our choice, we don't reserve a fraudulent election," read protest banners held by Ravalomanana's supporters, who have vowed to hold daily protests.

The country's Constitutional Court is reviewing a petition filed by Ravalomanana challenging Rajoelina's victory. It is due to hand down its ruling next week.

Ravalomanana has denounced what he called "massive fraud" and urged supporters to "defend" their votes.

The two rivals, who are both former presidents, were banned from running in the 2013 election as part of an agreement to end recurring crises that have rocked Madagascar since it gained independence from France in 1960.

Ravalomanana was forced to quit the presidency in 2009 after a series of military-backed challenges supported by Rajoelina, who was mayor of the capital, Antananarivo, at the time.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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