Update: Police kill as many as 30 demonstrators in Madagascar
Violence erupted in the capital city of Madagascar on Saturday when police shot into an anti-government demonstration, killing as many as 30 demonstrators. Political upheaval has left 125 people dead in recent weeks as President Marc Ravalomanana and displaced Antananarivo mayor, Andry Rajoelina, vie for power on the Indian Ocean island.
ANTANANARIVO -- Security forces killed up to 25 people in Madagascar on Saturday when they opened fire on an anti-government protest outside the presidential palace, a senior police officer at the scene said.
Two weeks of civil unrest stoked by a power struggle between President Marc Ravalomanana and the sacked mayor of the capital, Andry Rajoelina, have killed some 125 people and worried multinational firms investing in the giant Indian Ocean island.
While the turmoil is taking a human toll, Madagascar is suffering economically. The island has been a popular destination for tourists but has also welcomed multi-national coporations to explore and exploit the island's natural resources.
Madagascar has opened its doors to foreign firms which are exploring for oil, gold, cobalt, nickel and uranium. Big investors include Rio Tinto and Sherritt International.
Speaking to Reuters late on Friday before the latest violence, the U.S Ambassador to Madagascar, Niels Marquardt, said the turmoil had been disastrous for the country.
"The economy is in a catastrophic situation," he said. "There are hardly any tourists in Madagascar right now. Textile orders are falling every day, contracts are being revoked."
Business was shifting to Kenya and Bangladesh, he said.