Today we have some interesting news! No rally. Not because Andry Rajoelina called it off, but because riot police/army personnel have surrounded it dispersing the crowd with tear gas. On top of that, the president has now declared that it is forbidden (it was already illegal before this) to protest at May 13th square. AndryDago has stated in his blog that some of the protesters were quite upset with not being able to access May 13th and non-compliance with the TGV strike and have destroyed Collège Saint françois Xavier Antanimena. Hopefully there were no injuries.
But finally! A message from the president and his government to comfort its people and ensure them that they are taking steps to restore peace and order. Here are some quotes from the president from a CRIEnglish.com article regarding the vow of the president to restore order to Madagascar:
“I will also make my effort to stop all broadcasting of wrong information,” he said. “The armed forces would do their job and I call Madagascans to inform them on the possible robbery and looting in the capital city,” he added.
I hope they keep their word and continue to block access to May 13th square from demonstrators. People need to feel safe in their city and businesses need to operate without fear of being burned down, or looted. These type of protests should be taking place somewhere else, a place that does not paralyze the city the way that it does when it is held at May 13th square. Then again, having this much of an army/police presence may not allow for business to continue as normal… but at least the businesses don’t have to worry about looting and burning.
It makes you wonder where exactly can TGV go from here? Is there any other place in Tana that is as symbolic and powerful as May 13th square? Will they march to Lavoloha? Will they try to assemble at Mahamasima? Everyone knows of May 13th square, so how will TGV communicate with their supporters now? I am sure we will be surprised, but so long as the square is being held by the police/army I don’t think life in Tana will be as bad as it was starting to get.
Is this the beginning of a crackdown on TGV? Let’s hope so. There has been no real political reason why these rallies should have been occurring in the first place(there was no flawed election, so the legitimacy of the president does not need to be disputed), so they should be stopped. An example needs to be made of all those involved with the TGV for the way that they have mislead and used their supporters. Hopefully they will all be arrested and charged.
There are some new updates on the TIM site, below is some information directly from the site:
- There is a PDF file called “Une realite mal connue” available from here.
- There is an online petition that you can sign against the TGV, it can be found here (I have signed).
- There is a facebook group created opposing TGV that can be found here.
- And there is some sort of meeting on March 7th, 2009 at Places Nations at Geneva Suisse.
Tomorrow will be a big day of announcements from TGV I suspect, so I will be intensely watching the web.