Madagascar soldiers raid high court to arrest supporters of ousted president

[JURIST] Armed soldiers raided Madagascar's High Constitutional Court [official website, in French] Monday evening, arresting head of security Andrianandraina Ralitera and three other court employees. The four arrested men [L'Express report, in French], supporters of ousted president Marc Ravalomanana [BBC profile] are accused [Xinhua report] of inciting public disorder and ordering soldiers to open fire on protesters in February, resulting in the deaths of 28 [BBC report]. Journalists were later permitted into the court and shown weapons that had allegedly been stockpiled [BBC report] there.


Last month, the Constitutional Court accepted the military's decision to install [JURIST report] Andry Rajoelina [Reuters profile] as the country's new president, one day after Ravalomanana's resignation. The court approved the presidency of 34-year-old Rajoelina despite a requirement in Madagascar's constitution [text, PDF] that the president be at least 40 years of age, declaring that his presidency would be legal for a maximum two-year term [China Daily report]. Ravalomanana passed control of the government to the military after months of violence in hopes it would run the nation under a military directorate. The military subsequently passed power to Rajoelina, a former mayor of Madagascar's capital city of Antananarivo who had led protests against Ravalomanana's government. Rajoelina was fired as mayor of Antananarivo [BBC report] in late January following his declaration that he was in charge of Madagascar and his failed efforts to impeach Ravalomanana. Much of the public unrest stemmed from criticisms that Ravalomanana failed to alleviate poverty, as well as his unpopular decision to shut down a television station [BBC report] owned by Rajoelina after the station aired an interview with one of Ravalomanana's former adversaries.

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