March 14, 2009

Tensions resurface in Madagascar

Per Reuters, those in Madagascar are preparing for the worst as "[d]issident soldiers said they deployed tanks in the capital on Friday and the president urged the population to repel the mutineers."

The U.S. Embassy "is encouraging its diplomats and citizens to leave while they can" according to the article. The ongoing political conflict in the nation the last few months has severely hit its $390-million-a-year tourism industry, per Reuters.

Recent tweets from Madagascar have reflected on the lingering crisis:

@tandriamirado (Antananarivo, Madagascar): #madagascar TVM (Télévision Nationale) is out of service.

@barijaona (Madagascar): Précision pour personnes hors de #madagascar : sauf les rumeurs, les 2 derniers jours étaient paisibles : manifs pacifiques (pro et anti) (Accuracy for people outside #madagascar: despite the rumors, the last 2 days were peaceful demonstrations peaceful (pro and anti))

@layshiyuut (Tamatave, Madagascar): #madagascar all we need is peace and love.

@thierry_ratsiz (Antananarivo, Madagascar): RT @layshiyuut #madagascar all we need is peace and love. (I totally agree. Plz no more drama!)

One Antananarivo blogger has used Twitter to provide live tweets for at least the last month. She posted these updates recently:

@ariniaina (Antananarivo, Madagascar): #madagascar 12.40pm TGV protesters r shouting in Antaninarenina planning to take the ministry of finance
@ariniaina: #madagascar 01.54pm Antaninarenina is now quiet. TGV protesters r all gone n I heard they r in Anosy now.
@ariniaina: #madagascar No MIDI M/kara newspaper published today. A group of people frightened to burn this media company last night.

Following along, Liberian twitterer @oso recognized the work of @ariniaina.

@oso (Monrovia, Liberia): @ariniaina It really shows the importance of bloggers like you when so many mainstream malagasy media outlets are being threatened.

She responded:

@ariniaina (Antananarivo, Madagascar): @oso cuz of this crisis, citizen media improved a lot in #madagascar and are the most "trustable"

UPDATE: @tandriamirado tells Breaking Tweets that two local radio stations were jacked in Madagascar, making civilians in danger. Threats against local media continue, making citizen reports all the more valuable.

Related Breaking Tweets articles:
Feb. 21, Madagascar adversaries meet to quell violence
Feb. 7, Madagascar protest turns deadly

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