Madagascar police break up new opposition protestSat, 11 Nov 2023 19:28:47 GMT

Police fired tear gas on Saturday to disperse supporters of Madagascar’s opposition and detained 11 ahead of a presidential election on November 16.Several hundred people, mostly youths, gathered in the centre of the capital Antananarivo in  protest at what the opposition calls an “institutional coup” to favour the sitting president.AFP reporters said they put up barricades, set fire to some tyres and threw stones at anti-riot police carrying shields.Police prefect Angelo Ravelonarivo told a press conference 11 people had detained.The Red Cross said a dozen people were treated for light injuries.The Indian Ocean island nation has for weeks been shaken by a fierce battle between President Andry Rajoelina, who is running for re-election, and several opposition leaders.       Eleven out of 13  opposition candidates have led near daily, unauthorised marches in Antananarivo, for more than a month.I’m fighting against an incompetent government for the law to be respected in Madagascar,” said one young protester who did not want to be named.”No one is above the law, no one,” he said.”We are fighting for change,” said another demonstrator.The head of the lower house of parliament on Thursday called for the election to be suspended, arguing that the current situation in the country does not allow for a free and credible vote.A spokeswoman for president Rajoelina called the request a “far-fetched idea”.The European Union, the United States and other members of the international community this week expressed “deep concern following the violent incidents of recent days”.Voters in Madagascar were initially due to head to the polls on November 9, but the top court in October ordered that the elections be postponed after a presidential candidate was injured during a demonstration. The date for a potential second round vote on December 20 was kept unchanged.