MADAGASCAR’S OPPOSITION LEADER MOVES INTO PRESIDENTIAL PALACE


Madagascar’s opposition leader Andry Rajoelina has moved into the offices of President Marc Ravalomanana a day after their capture by pro-opposition troops.

He told thousands of supporters eight government ministers had quit, as power seemed to ebb away from the president.

Mr Ravalomanana – who is taking refuge in his residence on the outskirts of the capital Antananarivo – said earlier he was ready to fight to the death.

More than 100 people have died since the political crisis began in January.

The BBC’s Jonah Fisher in Antananarivo says it may be only a matter of time until the troops march on Mr Ravalomanana’s other residence, 15km (nine miles) from the city centre.

He adds any attempt to seize the Iavoloha palace could be bloody if they meet resistance from the presidential guard and hundreds of Mr Ravalomanana’s supporters, who have formed a human shield.

But the head of the pro-opposition army faction has said he does not want any bloodletting and would try to avoid confrontation.

Thousands of opposition supporters gathered in Antananarivo, chanting “president, president”, reports Reuters news agency.

“Many ministers have handed in their resignation to me,” Mr Rajoelina told them.

The African Union has condemned the opposition’s “attempted coup d’etat”, but Mr Rajoelina says the president has no right to stay in power.

SOURCED FROM BBC


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