Poverty, civil rights behind political unrest in Madagascar

When many Americans think of Madagascar, they may think of images as this:

madagascar2

Madagascar - a DreamWorks animated movie.

But the country’s reality looks much more like this, as of late:

By Walter Astrada/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

By Walter Astrada/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Police killed 23 protesters today and wounded approximately 83 others who were marching toward the palace of Madagascar’s President Marc Ravalomanana, according to the Agence France-Presse.

With a death toll close to 100, the country’s civil unrest escalated last week when Andry Rajoelina, Mayor of Antananarivo – the country’s capitol, declared a coup, calling Ravalomanana a dictator who had abandoned the people of Madagascar.

The Agence France-Presse reported that Rajoelina presented his case in the country’s Parliament and in the constitutional court, seeking to remove Ravalomanana from office. However, the court declared that “it is not competent to rule on the matter.” Ravalomanana then removed Rajoelina from his mayoral position Tuesday.

Shrinking civil liberties and economic turmoil are fueling the discontent, according to another Agence France-Presse article, as Madagascar continues to be one of the poorest countries in the world.

This is not the first political upheaval in Madagascar’s history. The country when through similar events in 1972, 1991 and 2002.

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