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At least 25 people were shot dead today in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo during a march to the presidential palace called by the city's mayor Andry Rajoelina after he declared himself the leader of a new transitional government at a political rally. In the past weeks, a power struggle between the mayor and the president Marc Ravalomanana has led to both violence and looting.
The political gathering took place in downtown Antananarivo around noon local time. Rajoelina announced the creation of a new transitional government, with himself as its leader, in spite of the fact that the current government is still in place. He asked his supporters to march to the presidential Palace in Ambohitsorohitra.
When the massive crowd arrived at the palace, a delegation entered the palace at 14:46 local time. This is when shots were fired. The local twittersphere and other bloggers reported:
Preliminary reports indicate that dozens of bodies are laying on the streets. Among the casualties, is said to be a cameraman from the RTA TV station (official confirmation still pending).
As of 15:40 local time, shots were still being fired. Rajoelina asked the armed EMMONAT forces, a military entity accepted by both parties and created during the crisis, to intervene and protect the crowds.
News releases (Reuters, Al Jazeera) report up to 25 deaths as images are currently streaming on national TV. BBC and AFP only reported 5 casualties so far. Live online reports can also be found in French here.
This is a live search of Twitter for “#madagascar”, which is the tag people have been using throughout the past weeks of political tension and occasional violence.