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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07ANTANANARIVO435
2007-05-04 09:47:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Antananarivo
Cable title:  

COASTAL UNREST CONTINUES IN MADAGASCAR

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  KDEM  EAID  PHUM  PINR  MA 
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VZCZCXRO5470
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHAN #0435 1240947
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 040947Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANTANANARIVO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4738
INFO RUCNSAD/SADC COLLECTIVE
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0895
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDCQUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION
						UNCLAS ANTANANARIVO 000435 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E, AF/FO, INR/AA, AND DRL
PARIS FOR D'ELIA
DEPT FOR DS/IP/AF CKOLLMAR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM EAID PHUM PINR MA
SUBJECT: COASTAL UNREST CONTINUES IN MADAGASCAR

REF: A) ANTANANARIVO 417 B) ANTANANARIVO 414

UNCLAS ANTANANARIVO 000435

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E, AF/FO, INR/AA, AND DRL
PARIS FOR D'ELIA
DEPT FOR DS/IP/AF CKOLLMAR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM EAID PHUM PINR MA
SUBJECT: COASTAL UNREST CONTINUES IN MADAGASCAR

REF: A) ANTANANARIVO 417 B) ANTANANARIVO 414


1. (U) SUMMARY: Public demonstrations in Madagascar against
blackouts and poor study conditions (reftels) have expanded to
include political opposition grievances. Protests seem to be
spreading to different coastal cities and even potentially
Antananarivo. After several days of protests with limited reports
of violence -- including one person allegedly shot in the leg and
the torching of buildings -- the situation on the coast is calm at
the moment. Opposition party leaders have condemned the
government's use of tear gas to disperse protesters and the arrests
of elected officials in Tulear (REF B). END SUMMARY.


2. (U) Protests against recent blackouts and poor study conditions
in a number of Madagascar's coastal cities continue. Protestors in
Diego Suarez (also known as Antsiranana) -- including students,
opposition members, and civilians -- clashed with police on April 30
and May 1. Protesters lobbed rocks at police, who responded by
releasing tear gas and firing shots to disperse the crowd. Post has
been unable to confirm the extent of injuries, but media and
gendarmes contacts report one person was shot in the leg while four
others were wounded. Students briefly took a journalist suspected
of being a "spy" for the police hostage on the morning of May 2, but
he has since been released. On the morning of May 3, approximately
100 students demonstrated in the city but were soon dispersed by
local security forces. The situation in Diego Suarez is reportedly
calm at this time.


3. (U) In response to recent ethnic tension in the southern city of
Tulear (also known as Toliara), representatives of eighteen clans
signed an agreement May 2 proclaiming their solidarity in preventing
ethnic conflict. Local police searched the residences of three
opposition leaders recently arrested for fomenting violent protests
in Tulear; their findings were not made public.


4. (U) In the western city of Majunga (also known as Mahajanga),
opposition leaders and students have continued to hold peaceful
public protests. However, in the nearby city of Port BeQ, vandals
torched the homes and offices of the District Chief and the Director
of JIRAMA, Madagascar's water and power company, to protest the
arrest of the president of the local consumer association who has
publicly called for an end to the blackouts. He has since been
released, and order has been restored in Port Berge.


5. (U) Jumping on the bandwagon, students in the University of
Antananarivo's School of Medicine threatened to go on strike May 2
to protest delayed scholarship payments. Following a one-day strike
May 2, JIRAMA employees in Antananarivo agreed to resume working in
exchange for a 12 percent pay increase. However, they threatened to
take unspecified action if the Minister of Energy is unable to
resolve the terms of a collective bargaining contract suspended last
year.


6. (SBU) COMMENT: Government of Madagascar officials are convinced
the malaise over student grievances and blackouts spreading to a
number of coastal cities, and potentially Antananarivo, is being
orchestrated by unspecified "external actors." While opposition
groups around the country are undoubtedly taking advantage of
general unrest to push their platforms, Post believes students and
civilians are airing genuine grievances in demonstrations that have
gotten out of hand. END COMMENT.


MCGEE