Counter-rally in “Democracy Square” in favour of Marc Ravalomanana
Message on Facebook
Friday, March 20th, 2009: I was informed by facebook (through a friend’s status) that there would be a sit – in at “place du 13 Mai” Analakely (downtown of Antananarivo) to protest against the coup d’état made by Andry rajoelina and the mutineer militaries. In order to get more confirmation about the accuracy of such information, I decided to phone directly my friend. He told me that this project was serious, but he did not know who was really behind it. Actually, he said, this is just a message relaied by Facebook friends. We then decided to go there to cover the event. The appointment was at CCAC (Albert Camus’s Cultural Center) at 10.00am Madagascar time.
Little gathering outside CCAC
Saturday, March 21st, 2009 at 10.00am Madagascar time: there were 15 people who waited outside CCAC. Most of them were aware of the news through Facebook. We chit-chated with them. I could notice their real willingness to make their voices heard. We talked about the necessity to find an efficient way to mobilize people and to rally the maximum of people to their cause: to condemn the coup d’état. We agreed on the fact that we do not that for supporting Marc Ravalomanana but for protecting democracy and the state of law. We were informed that there was a greater rally which took place in the so-called “democracy square” in Ambohijatovo (just near Analakely). We then decided to join it.
Ambohijatovo democracy square
10.30am Madagascar time: we arrived in Ambohijatovo at the democracy square (The Antananarivo Mayor, Andry Rajoelina, renamed this communal garden on Saturday, January 17th, 2009 and decided that this would be the place where all oppositionists can do freely a rally without asking for a prior authorization before the chief of police of Antananarivo, as it is provided by the law). A lot of people was already there. The organisers (we could not manage to find out from which political parties were they) were frantically preparing the stage.
We are against Andry Rajoelina
11.00am Madagascar time: the “show” finally started (it was scheduled to begin at 10.00am). The first speaker welcomed the crowd and apologized for the delay. He said that the common point of all the ralliers were the condemnation of the coup d’état and the refusal of constitutionnal violations. He also added that among the purposes of the rally, is to show to Andry Rajoelina that the Antananarivo people were against him and that he is not backed by Antananarivo people.
Plebiscite for Marc Ravalomanana
Each speaker did their best to highlight the good things that Marc Ravalomanana has done for Madagascar. They outlined the fact that Marc Ravalomanana has been unfairly and illegaly ousted. The rally became a plebiscite in favor of the former president.
Military junta backed by France
A speaker ascertained that Andry Rajoelina’s administration was in fact a military junta backed by France. Another one declared that Andry Rajoelina is a “coward” because he did not dare to accept to face a referendum (proposed by Marc Ravalomanana on March 16th, 2009 to end the crisis).