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Protesters gather in Madagascar
Posted on: 14-03-2009 , 04:: | DY365 Bureau

On Wednesday, the leader of a widening mutiny within the army ousted the chief of staff.
A day later the military police said it would no longer take orders from the government.

Col Noel Rakotonandrasa, spokesman for the dissident troops, urged the president to quit "at once" on Friday. "For sure there will be no resistance," he told the BBC.
Mr Ravalomanana - who has said he wants to stay in power until his mandate runs out in 2011 - vowed to re-establish order but said his life was under threat.

"My assassination would not be in your interest," he said. "The people would suffer, and the international community would not accept it."

Mr Rajoelina - a 34-year-old businessman and former DJ who was sacked last month by the government as mayor of the capital - went into hiding last week after the security forces tried to arrest him.

The opposition leader - who accuses the president of being a tyrant who has misspent public money - has been trying to establish a parallel government by naming an alternative cabinet.

The US state department warned on Friday the situation in Madagascar had "entered a dangerous phase" and urged the political rivals to "urgently commit" to talks.

For a country with unique rainforest and wildlife - the financial impact of the crisis is already clear, our correspondent says.
A tourist industry worth nearly $400m (£290m) a year has now had two months with no revenue.



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