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Police disperse opposition demonstrators in Madagascar

Presidential candidate Andry Rajoelina casting his ballot in 2018   -  
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Themba Hadebe/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Just a few days before the first round of presidential elections in Madagascar, demonstrators faced off against the police on Saturday.

A few hundred people took to the streets of Antananarivo at the call of the “collective of eleven” opposition candidates who claim the electoral process is biased in favour of incumbent president, Andry Rajoelina.

After building barricades, throwing stones at riot police, and setting fire to some tyres, the protestors were dispersed.

"I'm fighting against an incompetent government, so that the law is respected in Madagascar," said one young man, who did not wish to give his name.

"No one is above the law, no one."

Another demonstrator said they were fighting for their country “against the injustice for which Rajoelina is responsible”.

Police said 11 people were arrested and the Red Cross said it treated around 10 demonstrators for minor injuries.

The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, on Saturday expressed his "deep concern" about the tense political climate in Madagascar ahead of the polls.

In a statement, he reiterated the EU’s call for the authorities to guarantee all candidates in the election equal opportunities.

He also stressed "the importance of respecting freedom of movement, expression, association, and assembly".,

The past few weeks have been marked by regular protests by the opposition with numerous incidents of violence during demonstrations.

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