Madagascar: Opposition Protest Leads to Presidential Candidate’s Brief Detainment.

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Madagascar’s opposition made another attempt to stage a protest on Monday, but law enforcement officers dispersed the demonstrators, and one of the candidates in the upcoming presidential election, scheduled for November 16, was briefly taken into custody, according to the police.

Following an escalation in tensions on Saturday, when police used tear gas to thwart an opposition rally in the capital, Antananarivo, a small group of opposition members tried once again to reach the iconic Place du 13-Mai, despite a ban issued by the prefecture.

However, the area was sealed off by law enforcement forces, as reported by AFP.

Jean Jacques Ratsietison, a 6-year-old presidential candidate, economist, and founder of an association advocating for the purchasing power of the Malagasy people, was detained in the late morning, as confirmed by several journalists at the scene.

Mr. Ratsietison was eventually released in the evening and later stated on national television that the charges against him, which included acts of violence and attempted coup, were excessive.

Madagascar has witnessed several weeks of intense electoral competition between the government and a dozen candidates who will challenge the incumbent President Andry Rajoelina in the election.

Although the candidates have formed a collective, each is running independently for the presidency. They have consistently called for street protests for over a month, alleging that Rajoelina is engineering an “institutional coup d’état” ahead of the election, and are demanding a “free and fair” vote.

During a press conference on Monday, the police, gendarmerie, and military general staff offered to provide security for all thirteen presidential candidates and their families, without discrimination.

A spokesperson indicated they had received information about potential attacks against specific candidates but clarified that this security offer did not extend to political gatherings or demonstrations.

Roland Ratsiraka, another candidate from the collective, expressed outrage over Mr. Ratsietison’s arrest, asserting it was not a solution. Ratsiraka mentioned that they had filed a complaint with the administrative court regarding the prefect’s decision to ban protests on Place du 13-Mai, claiming that the prefect was not adhering to the law.

Auguste Paraina, a presidential candidate, decried his colleague’s arrest as a “dictatorship” carried out in the middle of the street. He underlined that they would not be deterred and expressed no fear.

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