Saturday, April 21st, a controversial law about the electoral code which was adopted at the beginning of last April, lead to trouble among the deputies of the House of Commons in Madagascar. Of the 152 deputies, 79 voted FOR and 73 AGAINST this law. The 73 deputies of the opposition denounced the abnormal way in which the law was passed, which they called fraudulent and corrupt. These 73 deputies decided to publicly denounce the actions of their colleagues in parliament before the population of the Capital (Antananarivo) on the 21st of April. The army forbid them access to the Main Square of Independence, where they planned to hold a public rally. The incident ended with violent clashes between the protestors and the army. Four people were killed and many were injured.
IFOR's branch in Madagascar, FEIFA, issued a statement on April 22, 2018 responding to the crisis:
'Non-violence is a weapon of the strong' (Gandhi)
FIEFA (branch of the International Fellowship Of Reconciliation – Madagascar) wants to express its concerns regarding the current situation in Madagascar - particularly the latest incidents, which occurred yesterday. Therefore, as part of the Madagascan Civil Society, and as one of the qualified organizations who promote peace, we want to make the following declaration:
- We cannot remain insensitive when faced with the severe incident which happened yesterday in the capital. Violence cannot resolve anything!
- We deplore the death of the four people killed and want to share our sincere condolences with the families of the victims; letting them know, that we share their pain. We also wish those who have been injured a quick recovery.
- We firmly condemn the disproportionate use of violence from part of the police force against the defenseless (empty-handed) demonstrators, which led to injured bodies.
- We urge the police to practice restraint, to act only in case of absolute necessity and without violating human rights.
- Freedom of expression is a fundamental right in the world. On the one hand we invite civil and military authorities to let the people express their opinions freely and in accordance with the law. On the other hand, we demand the other party to always demonstrate in accordance with the laws in effect in our country and to ensure that there are no riots and destruction of public property.
- We invite all stakeholders, as well as the vital forces of the nation, to join the negotiating table so together they can find a favorable solution for these tensions for the higher interest of our Nation.
- We count on everyone’s wisdom and restraint to defuse the situation and to foster a climate of de-escalation, which will guide us through the preparations for the elections, which we hope will be just, transparent and inclusive.
Madagascar for us all and all of us for MADAGASCAR. NO to violence!
From the FEIFA national office