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Supporters of former Madagascan president arrested
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10:50, September 13, 2009

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Supporters of former Madagascan president Marc Ravalomanana were arrested by the police here on Saturday for disturbance in the city center since Friday.

Madagascan police had to arrest over two dozens of Ravalomanana supporters, including Eliane Rosa Naika, a member of the parliament upper house. Six others were injured.

Naika, a 54-year-old woman member of Ravalomanana's party, Tiako i Madagasikara or I love Madagascar party in English, was arrested by the police in NALUGARO Hotel in a downtown area around 12:40 local time (0940 GMT). The other leaders of the party staying with her in the hotel had run away five minutes before.

Ravalomanana's supporters on Saturday staged an anti-High Transitional Authority (HTA) demonstration in the May-13-square without permission from local authorities, insulting the armed troops who received order to seal off the place.

Ravalomanana's supporters destroyed billboards of VIVA television and advertising company INJET, both owned to HTA President Andry Rajoelina, after failing to hold their scheduled demonstration at the city center of Antananarivo.

Road signs, public payphones and some cars inside the Ministry of Youth and Culture were destroyed by demonstrators. A French citizen was smashed at his head with a big stone and nearly all goods in his car were robbed except a bible.

Three people had to be rushed to a public hospital in the city center due to injuries they had, while some others were asphyxiated by tear gas launched by the police.

A police commander, who asked not to be identified, told Xinhua on the scene on Saturday that the armed forces tried to hunt those who spread chaos to prevent possible robbery and looting in the capital city like on Jan. 26, when dozens of public buildings, private shops and stores were looted.

The police commander said that the armed troops had sealed off, since Friday morning two places, including the May-13-square and a garden park, named "Place of Democracy" by Rajoelina in December, when he was the mayor of Antananarivo.

Ravalomanana's supporters intensified their anti-Rajoelina demonstration and wanted to move into the may-13-square and the Place of Democracy in the city center to express their opposition to the announcement of a new government by Rajoelina and his Prime Minister Monja Roindefo on Tuesday.

The formation of the transitional government was denounced by Rajoelina's rivals, who said the move violated the transitional charter and other related documents signed by the four political leaders on Aug. 9 in Maputo, Mozambique.

Zafy called the four political camps on Friday to resume talks within 72 hours and threatened to set up an opposite government against the lineup announced on Tuesday.

The transitional prime minister, Roindefo, announced late Friday that Rajoelina accepted Zafy's invitation, but changed his idea at the last minute due to the disturbance made by Ravalomanana's supporters.

Roindefo called all victims of the robbery and destruction, which took place here on Friday and Saturday to claim it to the special investigation committee set up by the transitional government on Saturday.

Source: Xinhua

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