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Tense Standoff in Madagascar's Capital


Police and protesters are in a standoff in Madagascar's capital, as opposition leader Andry Rajoelina moves to put his own government in power.

Thousands of protesters who had gathered in central Antananarivo began marching toward government ministries but were blocked by security forces.

The protesters, at last report, had refused to disperse.

Rajoelina, who is seeking to topple President Marc Ravalomanana, has promised to take possession of the ministries and install his own government.

Madagascar's defense minister Vice Admiral Mamy Ranaivoniarivo warned earlier Monday that ministries within the capital are considered "red zones" and will be protected by security.

At least 28 people were killed earlier this month when presidential guards fired on a crowd trying to march on Madagascar's presidential palace.

In January, opposition protests triggered riots and looting that killed many more.

Rajoelina accuses President Ravalomanana of being authoritarian and recently proclaimed himself the island nation's new leader.

The president says he remains in charge of the country's affairs.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP

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