Today is the second day in which TGV supporters could not reach May 13th square to continue their protest, the army had the area blocked off again before sunrise. In addition to the square being blocked off, there is heavy military presence around places like Ministries and Commercial areas, there are very few places now that TGV supporters can protest. From this point on, it is probably safe to say that Tana is in military lock down until there is stability.
Yesterday the army was quite busy dealing with rioters and “suspicious” people (whatever that means) resulting in a great deal of arrests for the day (including 31 in Mahajanga for looting). There were also some reports of death (1 or 2) and injuries, but aside from that I could didn’t see any anything else other than reports of some confusion for non-rioting people and that some frustrated TGV supporters attacked CEG Antanimena. I am not sure if this is the same college that I mentioned yesterday when referring to what AndryDago had mentioned on his blog, but it seems it was true that some supporters were angry that there were people going to school when there was supposed to be a general strike. Here is a quote from a student via TopMada.com:
“Ils nous ont tiré par le col de notre chemise parce que nous ne sortions pas assez rapidement à leur goût. Et ils ont menacé de brûler le collège si nous ne sortions pas de nos classes”
Roughly translated by Google:
“They drew us by the collar from our shirt because we do not leave rather quickly to their taste. And they threatened to burn the college if we do not leave our classes”
What suprised about this is that it had prompted condemnation from UNICEF, “les menaces et intimidation (exercées) mercredi par certains groupes d’individus contre des élèves et des enseignants” or translated “the threats and intimidation (exerted) Wednesday by certain groups of individuals against pupils and teachers”. I thought this would have been something that might have flew beneath the radar, but it appears that the crisis in Madagascar is being more closely watched.
One thing that I saw that bothered me is that while reading through articles today, there was a sense that Ravalomana is only acting on the rioting now because of outcome of his meetings with members of the AU on Tuesday. From what I have read the AU stated more or less that the crisis must be resolved in 15 days or else the AU summit will be moved from Madagascar. Does this mean that JUST because of the potential for losing the AU summit we are now seeing a hard/fast response to the crisis? It would be terrible if this is the sole reason that we are seeing a response now rather than the silence that we were used to. If this resolves the crisis though, I guess it is better late than never.
But now there seems to be some plans by TGV to organize another “dia be” for Saturday. Andry Rajoelina stated over Radio Antsiva that his followers must dress in white on Saturday to go for a march starting from May 13th square, but hasn’t stated where they are going yet. If he says it is a dia be, then it will probably be a long march odds are that they are going to do a walk to Lavoloha.
Since there has been relative silence from TGV, it seems to me that the military blocking off May 13th square has been fairly effective in disrupting them. This announcement for me represents the next desperate attempt to gain support and attention, and if they do actually announce they are going to Lavoloha then it will most likely end badly for the people who march there (much like the marches on 05/13/1991 and 08/10/2002). I guess we will see.