Army, police clash in Madagascar capital
Shots and explosions could be heard in Madagascar`s capital on Thursday.
Antananarivo: Shots and explosions could be heard as soldiers and police clashed in Madagascar`s capital on Thursday.
The fighting broke out after hundreds of demonstrators tried to converge on a police barracks to protest alleged abuses by the national police.
The police used heavy vehicles to block roads outside their barracks. It was not immediately clear what touched off the exchange of fire.
The protesters, unable to reach the barracks, cheered the sounds of fighting in the distance.
Madagascar has been tense since Andry Rajoelina, a former disc jockey and mayor of the capital, ousted elected President Marc Ravalomanana in March 2009 with the military`s backing after a campaign of street protests.
Rajoelina has resisted international mediation efforts, and the military has shown signs of cooling toward him in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, Rajoelina promised in a nationally televised address that he would not run in Presidential Elections he has set for November.
The pledge may have been an attempt to reassure critics he is committed to democracy, but it did not address international calls for a power-sharing government to oversee elections.
Rajoelina has scheduled talks to draft a proposed Constitution by month`s end, followed by a constitutional referendum on August 12, Parliamentary Elections on September 30 and Presidential Elections on November 26.
Impoverished Madagascar lies off the southeastern coast of Africa, in the Indian Ocean.