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Madagascar Police Disperse Ravalomanana Supporters


Security forces in Madagascar fired bullets into the air Thursday to disperse a rally by supporters of ousted president Marc Ravalomanana.

Thousands of the former president's supporters gathered in the capital, Antananarivo, for the fourth straight day Thursday.

Some had begun to move towards the city's central square when police moved in. No injuries were reported.

Madagascar's new president, Andry Rajoelina, has called for national reconciliation talks to be held next week that would include Ravalomanana and his supporters. The government says the talks would include plans for new elections.

A speaker at today's rally said the former president will only take part in the talks if he is recognized as Madagascar's elected president, and if the talks are organized by a neutral body, such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Mr. Rajoelina came to power this month on a wave of sometimes-violent protests that began in January. Many nations say his assumption of power was nothing less than a coup.

Ravalomanana is currently in Swaziland, where he arrived Monday, more than a week after he was forced to resign.

Swaziland is to host a summit of the Southern African Development Community next week. The group plans to discuss possible sanctions against Mr. Rajoelina.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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