One week after police fired on opposition supporters, rival politicians in Madagascar have held simultaneous rallies in the capital.
Despite calls for calm from international diplomats, the two camps went ahead with the shows of strength. At his rally,opposition leader Andry Rajoelina told a 10,000 strong crowd he would start forming his own government . Meanwhile President Marc Ravelomanana addressed 35,000 of his supporters claiming he would not step down despite the opposition’s challenge to his leadership. He also promised to order a special investigation into events on February 7 when police killed 25 protestors. Rajoelina accuses the current administration of corruption and blames it for the deaths of more than 100 people in a month of violent clashes. So far the military has refused to take sides in the dispute, although the president has replaced the heads of police with loyalists. Both sides are continuing talks which are being mediated by religious leaders.