Dictator, DJ or Democracy?

I don’t even know how to start, the crisis in Madagascar has been going downhill so fast that it is mind boggling. As it turns out there was in fact a mutiny and that is just the beginning of the downward spiral. Instead of commenting on what has happened currently, I will instead try to provide a chronological list of events starting from March 6th:

03/06/09:

  • Andry Rajoelina called for a March on Saturday with supporters to be dressed in white, destination not announced. This march would not because of the attempted arrest of Andry Rajoelina.
  • There have been reports of Radio/TV signal scrambling.
  • After the botched attempt at arresting Andry Rajoelina he was nowhere to be found. He later communicated that he is in a safe place, which turned out to be the French Embassy. There was a lot of confusion around this, even now, whether he was with the UN or France.
  • Students of Lycee Francais were blocked in their school by supporters of Andry Rajoelina who answered his call to protect him at his home in Ambatobe. The students were blocked in the school most of the day were late evacuated to  the French Embassy in Ivandry once the army arrived. Thought: Since the school was protected by TGV supporters, and students and Andry Rajoelina ended up in the French embassy, does that mean that TGV supporters were protecting the school because Andry was in it? Was he evacuated with the students? Did the Emmonat know at that time?
  • Odon Razanakolona comes out in support of Andry Rajoelina stating on Radio Antsiva that the military should stop the violence and that the population should create “andriamasom pokonolona” in each district.

03/07/09:

  • Representative of TGV that was involved in negotiations with the government and AU/EU has pulled out citing that their demands are not being met. One of those being the resignation of the current president and the second filling the presidents position with the High Authority for Transition Andry Rajoelina.
  • AU has stated that they deny giving a 15 day ultimatum to Marc Ravolomanan to resolve the crisis or lose the AU summit. Turns out to be misinformation.
  • There was a brief gathering at May 13th square, but was dispersed in the early afternoon by the Emmonat with tear gas.
  • First announcement from Andry Rajoelina that he is in a “safe place” and cannot attend the rallies in person.
  • Emmonat broke into VIVA Radio/TV at the end of day and removed servers and files (apparently looking for information from another radio station, which later was not found).

03/08/09:

  • There were reports of a serious effort to destabilize the army and that there is some confusion in army camps on the outskirts of Antananarivo, mainly CAPSAT. Rumours start about a military mutiny.
  • Military mutiny confirmed (reportedly 70 soldiers). Most common quote from the military is: “We are with the people. That is enough killing people like that. We will defend our camp from all attack,” said one soldier beside a roadblock, on condition of anonymity. From Reuters.
  • VIVA TV/Radio still off the air.

03/09/09:

  • Both Sobika.com and TopMada.com (sources of almost real time information) go offline around 12PM EST. Sobika.com comes back online an hour or 2 later, TopMada comes online sometime in the evening. Supposedly there was some form of attack launched at them, but this remains unconfirmed.
  • Rallies were called for both Pro-TGV and Pro-TIM. No military presence at May 13th square to block the rally or protect the citizens.
  • At the end of the rallies, Pro-TIM were breaking down Pro-TGV blockades in Tsimbazaza, resulting in a violent clash.
  • Confusion all across Madagascar as radio stations start to alter their frequency, some stations broadcasting on other stations frequencies. This was done in an attempt to counter the frequency jamming that is occurring, listeners told to scan different frequency bands.
  • Mutiny is confirmed, and is currently restricted to 1 camp CAPSAT
  • The looting of Tanjombato begins. Buildings pillaged this day: France Pub, SFOI, Planton, Courts, Galerie Smart, Score Jumbo, Leader Price. Proprietors denounce the inaction of the government to stop the 12 hours+ of looting. Damage estimates come in the hundreds of millions of Ariary.
  • Some looting in Antananarivo: Ocean Trade Smart Antanimena.
  • Due to lack of military presence, residents start to form their own protection against looters via Madagascar-Tribune.
  • Gunshots heard in Toliara every now and then.
  • Government Defence Minister states that there will be military action in the army. Quoted: “It will be necessary to take military action in the army,” he said in a statement. Il ya un problème politique au centre de la crise actuelle. Cela exige une solution politique. L’armée ne doit pas se laisser manipuler et diviser par cette crise. “There is a political problem at the center of the current crisis. This requires a political solution. The army should not be manipulated and divided by the crisis.” via L’express.fr.
  • Mayor of Mahajanga was chased from his office.

03/10/09:

  • First reports that Andry Rajoelina was given protection by the UN.
  • Rally at May 13th square, announced that on 03/11/09 that TGV will re-take the Ministries it lost control of 0n 02/20/09. Rally at Mahamasima for Pro-TIM. Ravalomanana calling for calm, respect for the consitution and stoppage of violence. Admits that he has done bad deeds and will take responsibility for them.
  • Looting and pillaging in Soavina
  • Reports of foreign army personnel in madagascar made by head of the army and reported via Don Bosco.
  • Report of 75% of the military supporting the mutiny with CAPSAT via the NY Times.
  • TIM guarantees TGV ministers/supporters security.
  • It was discovered that France was protecting Andry Ranjoelina, not the UN.
  • Ravalomanana agrees to a wider dialogue with all involved parties.
  • A 12 hour ultimatum was given to CAPSAT.
  • The defence minister Mamy Ranaivoniarivo was forced by CAPSAT to resign reported in IHT.
  • The military announces a 72 hour deadline for the crisis to be resolved. If not they will have to “fulfill” their duty. Reported on France24.com (with video). Quote from the military “We promise to remain neutral. We implore all political players, civil society organisations and other parties to reunite immediately to find a solution within the next 72 hours to help the nation out of the current crisis,” General Edmond Rasolomahandry, the army’s chief of staff, told reporters. If no solution is found within this time, we, the armed forces, will fulfil our responsibilities in the greater interests of the nation,” he said, without elaborating.
  • The government appointed mayor Guy Rivo Randrianarisoa’s house was set on fire and destroyed.
  • Andry Rajoelina leaves the French Embassy, but is still in hiding going to an “undisclosed” location.
  • CAPSAT takes control of the Ministry of Defence
  • Pro-TIM supporters were asked to do a sit-in at the French Embassy. Pro-TIM and Pro-TGV supporters clash, 15 people injured 2 photos at Pakysse blog.
  • RFI reports that there is a growing mutiny and the president is losing control of the army.
  • TopMada states there are eye-witness reports of several soldiers present at Ambatobe in red berets armed with machine guns and rocket launchers. They are checking cars at road blocks setup leading to and from Nanisana Analamahitsy.

03/11/09:

  • France names special envoy Edem Kodjo for the crisis. He will be in Madagascar from 03/12/09 to 03/19/09 reported by TV5.
  • Andry Rajoelina and his ministers (Roland Ratsiraka and Pierre Razafimanjato) state they will boycott peace talks scheduled for this Thursday proposed by the FFKM and international community.
  • UN announces that it would offer protection to Andry Rajoelina.
  • Hotels/Tourism worry about the affect the crisis will have on the AU summit and the tourism it would have provided via malango-mayotte.com.
  • Gunshots heard at Anosy
  • Reports of looting and fire in Behoririka & Ankadifotsy
  • Army chief of staff Edmond Rasolofomahandry forced out by pro-TGV as dissident soldiers took control of army headquarters. Andre Andriarijaona is now the chief of staff. Quote from Andre : “Negotiations with the general were completed in the fraternity worthy of the army. Now all the corps in Madagascar are behind me, and our cohesion has not been affected,” he said. Reported by the BBC.
  • 2 helicopters reported to be patrolling Ivato Airport.
  • Frequent power outtages occurring in Antananarivo.
  • Strikes are overwhelming the city of Antalah.
  • Andry Rajoelina returns to his residence in Ambatobe
  • Pro-TGV supporters hea to Anosy to re-take the ministries. Pro-TIM supporters demonstrating at Mahamasima head to Anosy to protect the ministries since there is no police or military presence.
  • Police disperce both sides, there are injuries, but none confirmed.
  • House of Mamy Rakotoarivelo (TIM) has been ransacked, not confirmed to be destroyed or burnt (yet).
  • Many soldiers now flow into Antananarivo.
  • Gunshots are heard in the region of Mahamasima-Anosy.
  • The taking of the ministries is expected later, with the support of the armed forces via Sobika.com.
  • Madagascar Tribune reporter seriously injured trying to cover the events of today.

The information above is a culmination of news sites and twitter (thanks to everyone for providing such good coverage). I will be adding/updating the information when I can as this situation is becoming so bad that you can’t really have an opinion right now other than that this situation is damned scary. Fear and worry fill me now for the malagasy people and for my family… I don’t know what is going to happen, but I cannot find one trace of hope yet with what has been going on.

Please, please please don’t decend into civil war!

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