The police in Madagascar has reportedly used tear gas against some opposition candidates in next month’s presidential elections as they gathered with several hundred supporters on a square in the centre of the capital.
The Island nation go to the polls on November 9, 2023 to choose their next president and governors.
Preparations for the election have been underway for several weeks amidst a tense atmosphere.
Eleven candidates, including former president Marc Ravalomanana, had called for a rally early on Monday morning on the Place du 13 Mai, the scene of all the political disputes in Madagascar.
Several of these candidates were at the head of the procession shortly before 09:00 GMT when the police fired tear gas to disperse them.
Former president Ravalomanana was escorted by his bodyguards away from the tear gas, into the courtyard of a building, an AFP journalist observed.
The opposition rally had not been authorised by the authorities. Several hundred police officers had cordoned off the square since early morning.
In a televised address on Sunday evening, outgoing president Andry Rajoelina denounced a political crisis “created out of thin air”.
Thirteen candidates are in the running for the forthcoming elections, including the outgoing president, 49, who came to power in 2009 following a mutiny that ousted Marc Ravalomanana.Banned from running by the international community in 2013, Andry Rajoelina was elected in 2018.
Last month, ten opposition candidates denounced “an institutional coup d’état” orchestrated by Mr Rajoelina, following a series of court rulings that would favour the outgoing president in the run-up to the election.