Looting in Madagascar, our Observer tells the story

The riots tearing through the Madagascan capital have already left two people dead. One of our Observers in Antananarivo, camera in hand, went to see the scene for himself last night.

Contributors

"The police didn't get involved"

Andriankoto Harinjaka Ratozamanana is a blogger from Antananarivo.           

I spent the night in a hotel, where I could use the Internet, and took these photos on the way back home. I went through the Antanimena district, where the Chinese shops are. The streets were full of people carrying TVs, furniture, mattresses... they'd looted the electronics store, Citic, and Magro [a store owned by the president], and also Jumbo Score and the furniture shop Courts. The police didn't get involved. When I went by, they were lined up in front of the oil reservoir. I guess they were trying to avoid the rioters setting fire to it. 

This uprising is different from the one in 2002 [caused by a dispute between the current president and his predecessor]. This one's not really political. Basically the president [Marc Ravalomanana] has just bought himself a 60-million-dollar plane. And according to the mayor [Andry Rajoelina], that's enough money to buy rice for the entire Madagascan population for five years. So people are angry, and some of them say that they should be allowed to help themselves from shops without paying. I don't think the crisis will last because the government has no choice but to negotiate. We might even see the president step down."



Photos by Andriankoto.

Other amateur images taken yesterday in Antananarivo

Photos posted by Fanalan_azy on Flickr.

Looting the Magro store in Antananarivo. Video posted on YouTube by c17dabossbaby.

Comments

Dancing in Madagascar by Peter Files from Slovenia

Hello to everybody...

I am shocked by the events that happened or are happening in Antananarive.I have been to Mada. 4 times with my dance partner and it has changed my life totaly.Malgasy people love to dance and i had privilege to teach them and perform for then 4 years in a roll. We should be going this month again but becouse of acctually events it is to dangerous. I am scared for my friends there , couse i dont receive any mail or sms from them.

It is very beautifull how litlle it has to take to help people and children i am honered that i `we` could help the people and CHILDREN THERE .....

Any way i welcome everybody to MADAGASCAR OPEN 2009 ``dansesportive`` if there will be one.

WITH LOVE TO MADAGASCAR

WE PRAY FOR ALL THE PEOPLE THERE

PETER FILES SLOVENIA

http://www.petermaja.co.nr/

Antananarivo

I have been travelling to Madagascar for 15 years. In that time, the improvements have been astonishing. I had to visit businesses 15 years ago. None of them was investing. Most, the opposite. All spoke of the corruption and greed which, although their labour costs were infinitessimaly small, added so much to the costs that they could not properly function. Typically, a manufacture of Cashmere told me he had to put the export portion of a container going to the port in one end, the remainder filled with layers which would be ripped off by police, army and port officials. The canals in Tana were filled to overflowing with refuse and sewage. The markets had duck bords above duckboards to make it possible to wade through lakes of excrement and rubbish. The roads had pot holes big enough to hide a 2-chevaux in. The agricultural system was collapsing, as the government acted as sole market, at a price below that of production; beautiful age-old rice terracing was falling into dereliction. Every ruined terrace spewed silt onto paddy below. Worse still, the lack of proper markets meant that peasants turned to slash and burn to survive. It was difficult to fly by helicopter because of the number of small bush fires up every valley in the fast diminishing virgin rain forest. The burnt forest then turned to badlands,and added to the silt spewed onot the remaining working paddy fields. The prize asset of Madagascar, its bio-diversity, was being destroyed. The corrupt dictatorship was taking a bigger and bigger slice of a smaller and smaller cake until there was no cake left.
Thank goodness for Ravalomanana. Tana is barely recognisable, with clean canals and working roads. The country side is starting to bloom again because there is a market for products. There is a long way still to go. The French had run the place badly, and since they left in the fifties, everything had got worse. No-one can reverse such a decline in a few years. But the best chance is democracy which Ravalomanana is devoted to; and getting rid of corruption, a battle he has fought from well before being President. For the people of Madagascar, I hope he serves long enough to make his plans work.

help me dude

hey dude some of my family members r in tana i can't contact them via telecom.plsss could u give me some information about waht's happening near ampahibe.plzzzzz dude

Does anyone think about the

Does anyone think about the possible loss of foreign investment here in Madagascar, and the impact that will have on the economy and the wonderful people here? Does looting make up for that? The president has initiated foreign investment in Madagascar and also, development that could make the entire country more prosperous. Do you not appreciate that? What will the mayor do?

It's amazing that because

It's amazing that because Madagascar isn't oozing with oil how easy it is to neglect the people there.I don't, Madagascar has a very unique historic and cultural history and if international intervention is required in order to protect the innocents there it should be done.

you have no clue...have you

you have no clue...have you even been to Madagascar? It,s desperation everywhere. Kids begging, older people dying etc. The presidents efforts to entice foreign investments have only enhanced his riches and not of the malagasy people.

The looting is a direct reflection on the poor leadership expressed by the current president. Desperate times call for desperate measure....you would do the same.

As an expat who has been

As an expat who has been knowing Madagascar for 28 years and living there permanently for the las 7 years, all I can tell you is that the poverty has been spreading and growing at a frightening pace these last few years on the Island.
These lootings are carried-out by desperate people who have nothing anymore to lose but their lives.
Probably more than 80 people died in Antananarivo, Mahajanga, Toamasina, Toliara, Sambava, Antsirabe, Fianarantsoa.
We fear that more will die as the lootings continue in Antananarivo where the wealthy suburb of Ivandry is now targetted as well as Tanjombato.
There is no justification for looting. But the Malagasy people is fed-up with greedy political leaders. An unfortunately this trend is not likely to change with the new wolves climbing the political ladder...

Madagascar is lovely place

Just to say Im confused.

Is this the end of world economy?

I have no other comment

Antananarivo

I have been travelling to Madagascar for 15 years. In that time, the improvements have been astonishing. I had to visit businesses 15 years ago. None of them was investing. Most, the opposite. All spoke of the corruption and greed which, although their labour costs were infinitessimaly small, added so much to the costs that they could not properly function. Typically, a manufacture of Cashmere told me he had to put the export portion of a container going to the port in one end, the remainder filled with layers which would be ripped off by police, army and port officials. The canals in Tana were filled to overflowing with refuse and sewage. The markets had duck bords above duckboards to make it possible to wade through lakes of excrement and rubbish. The roads had pot holes big enough to hide a 2-chevaux in. The agricultural system was collapsing, as the government acted as sole market, at a price below that of production; beautiful age-old rice terracing was falling into dereliction. Every ruined terrace spewed silt onto paddy below. Worse still, the lack of proper markets meant that peasants turned to slash and burn to survive. It was difficult to fly by helicopter because of the number of small bush fires up every valley in the fast diminishing virgin rain forest. The burnt forest then turned to badlands,and added to the silt spewed onot the remaining working paddy fields. The prize asset of Madagascar, its bio-diversity, was being destroyed. The corrupt dictatorship was taking a bigger and bigger slice of a smaller and smaller cake until there was no cake left.
Thank goodness for Ravalomanana. Tana is barely recognisable, with clean canals and working roads. The country side is starting to bloom again because there is a market for products. There is a long way still to go. The French had run the place badly, and since they left in the fifties, everything had got worse. No-one can reverse such a decline in a few years. But the best chance is democracy which Ravalomanana is devoted to; and getting rid of corruption, a battle he has fought from well before being President. For the people of Madagascar, I hope he serves long enough to make his plans work.

Madagascar

I was in Madagascar for three years when the last civil unrest occurred. I thought Marc Ravalamanona was a reformer and despite the unrest believed in him. I just don't know now. I haven't kept up with the politics so I'm unable to make an informed comment. Just that Marc did improve Tana when he was Mayor and Ratsiraka definately had to go .

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