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PALAZZO DI PROPAGANDA FIDE VATICANO announces rumours of ousted Mayor Rajoelina's arrest and radio Don Bosco tranmissions are being blocked from activity on air. Psa 137:5 May I never be able to play the harp again if I forget you, Jerusalem!
March 10, 2009

[Diocese of Antsiranana - Indian Ocean] Agenzia news source.
AFRICA/MADAGASCAR - Tension in Madagascar following unconfirmed news of
the arrest of main opposition leaderAntananarivo (Agenzia Fides) – Tension
has once again arisen in Madagascar, where conflict continues between President Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina, the mayor of Antananarivo who was removed from office. The situation, which has been going on for over month now, has led the country into an extremely serious political and institutional crisis. “The situation is extremely worrisome,” sources from Radio Don Bosco, the largest Catholic radio station in Madagascar, told Fides.
“After two days of strike declared on February 28, by Rajoelina, the government decided today, March 4, to prohibit demonstration rallies in Antananarivo. The police have blocked access to May 13 Square, which had become the traditional site for the opposition's rallies. The demonstrators were not arrested and are now occupying other parts of the capital. Tension is on the rise, because there is rumor, yet to be confirmed, that Rajoelina has been arrested. His supporters are making their way to his residence and clashes with the police are feared.”
“For days now,” our sources say, “the rallies have extended to other parts of Madagascar. There have even been clashes between protesters and policemen, leaving several dead and wounded from among the demonstrators, who were struck by bullets fired at head height by policemen and soldiers.
We have also observed that the majority of the private radio stations have experienced electrical blackouts. Until now, Radio Don Bosco has not been affected and we are now the only independent voice, because apart from National Radio, only a private station of the President has been left untouched. Today, however, for the first time, we noted that even Radio Don Bosco's signals are experiencing interferences. Our signal reaches a good portion of the country, as many of our informational programs are aired by other stations in the various dioceses. However, we know that the signal of some local Catholic stations is blacked out when the Radio Don Bosco news update comes on.” In political affairs, UN Envoy Haile Menkerios has once more requested the mediation efforts of Archbishop Odon Marie Arsène Razanakolona of Antananarivo, as President of the Forum of Christian Churches in Madagascar (FFKM, formed by the Catholic Church, the Reformed Protestant Church of Madagascar, Lutherans, and Anglicans). The Archbishop had suspended the efforts, affirming that he had found no real desire to reach an agreement. The Archbishop of Antananarivo said he would return, on the condition that citizens be respected in their right to hold peaceful protests and in their legal right to opinion, and an end to illegal arrests.
The African Union emissary, Amara Essay, today suggested the formation of a “government open to opposition.” “The African Union seems favorable not so much to the formation of a transitional government that would prepare for elections, but rather a government of national reconciliation, with the participation of the majority, the opposition, and the members of civil society, whose organizations have made several proposals on how to emerge from this crisis,” Fides sources concluded.

(LM) (Agenzia Fides 4/3/2009)