8 Feb 2009

28 killed in Madagascar protests

10:02 pm on 8 February 2009

Twenty eight people have been killed in Madagascar in protests violently put down by the security forces, police say in a revised toll that puts the number of injured past 200.

Presidential security forces on Saturday opened fire at anti-government protestors who tried to march on President Marc Ravalomanana's office after a rally in the capital Antananarivo.

"In the city's three main hospitals, we counted 28 dead and 212 wounded," said Captain Lala Rakotonirina, spokesman of the national police force.

The previous toll, given late on Saturday by the fire brigade, was 23 dead and 83 wounded.

University hospital official Eric Rambinison said 90 percent of the injured had sustained bullet wounds.

Sunday's toll brought to 96 the number of people killed in protests that erupted on January 26 when the now-sacked Antannarivo mayor Andry Rajoelina called for anti-government demonstrations.